By Denae Jones –
I was talking with some friends the other day about how beautiful this fall weather has been. It’s my favorite time of year. The colors, the smells, the fresh air, pumpkins, the harvest coming in. I love it all. One of them mentioned how ironic it is that the leaves don’t reveal these beautiful colors until they begin to die. Interesting.
There are actually many things in nature and in life that require a dormant period in order to reveal something much better than before. Transformations generally take place in the darkness before they are ever revealed in the light. Did you know that pearls are only formed because an irritant, like a parasite or piece of sand, works its way into the oyster? Its defense mechanism is to coat the irritant with a liquid that hardens over time and becomes a pearl. Even the mollusk turns something broken into something beautiful.
Caterpillars become butterflies inside the darkness of a cocoon. Seeds open in the darkness of the soil. Babies grow in the darkness of their mother’s womb. And often, we grow into more beautiful versions of ourselves during the darkest times of our lives.
It seems like there has been so much heartache and destruction in the world lately. It would be easy to feel defeated. It would be easy to give up. It would be easy to point fingers at God and ask why he would let these things happen! Where was he during the darkest hours of so many people’s lives?
It’s our human tendency to place blame when something bad happens, and I believe we give God the side-eye when there is nobody else to blame. But God isn’t in the business of destroying lives. He’s in the business of molding them. Like any good parent, he loves us fiercely, and loves us enough to teach us lessons when we need them. Sometimes our flaws are revealed and our lessons are learned in those dark moments.
God didn’t make that shooter pull the trigger, but you can bet he was there as people shielded one another with their own bodies. He didn’t make hurricanes devastate thousands of homes, but he is there as relief bags full of new clothes and toiletries are placed into a child’s hands. He didn’t start fires out west, but he is there as firefighters risk their own lives to save others. Tragic things happen because we live in a broken world. Our bodies are broken. Our weather is broken. Our minds are broken. And we get really angry at God when tragedy strikes and our hearts are broken. But people have free will to make bad choices, and they often do.
If you are a parent, you know that when your child is crying and heartbroken, the first thing you do is go to them. You don’t even have to say any words. You just hold them in an effort to bring them comfort and security. You didn’t make that awful thing happen to them. You didn’t let someone else hurt them. Maybe it was the result of someone else’s bad choice. In the same way, God is our father. He does not make bad things happen to us. When we are crying and heartbroken, be assured that He is doing the same for us that we would do for our own children. In Hebrews 13:5 God tells us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” We are not alone in those dark times.
There is a quote by Corrie tenBoom that says, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” Do we trust our engineer during those dark times? Or do we just blame him for the tunnel?
Maybe, just like the leaves on the trees, when it feels like a part of us is dying, it will eventually allow a more beautiful side of us to be revealed. If we are in a season of darkness or a season of waiting, that doesn’t mean God has forgotten our name. Maybe that’s when He’s working on us the most. Maybe that’s when He’s holding us the closest. That’s when we just have to trust the Engineer and wait for His timing. Psalm 31:14-15 “I trust in you, O Lord. You are my God. My times are in your hands.”
Have a blessed week, friends!
Denae Jones’ devotional journal titled Love, Joy, Peace is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Books A Million, Lifeway, and Christianbook.