Beauty Through Suffering
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.(1 Cor 4:17-18)
What is your first reaction when faced with extreme stress, pain or fear in your life? Do you thank God for the opportunity to learn more about Him? I'd be lying if I said that was my first reaction. Yet, the Psalmist (likely King David) was able to proclaim this very desire as he penned the words of Psalm 119:71. I wonder how long it took him to get to that point of complete surrender to God's plan for his life. What did he have to believe? What do we?
To eventually accept afflictions in life (after the initial shock goes away, of course) with some measure of joy and thanksgiving rather than with an attitude of anger and despair, it helps if we believe that hardship and pain can be for our greater good. The way God designed EVERYTHING points to this truth.
Without an ending there can be no new beginning.
Consider the planet Earth's four seasons, especially, Autumn. Have you ever stopped to think that tree foliage is the most stunning for only a mere portion of its existence, and near the end its life span?
When summer turns to autumn and the days get colder and shorter, leaves burst into brilliant color when life-giving nutrients fade away. The changing conditions produce beauty in the leaf's "suffering", preparing the tree for the harsh winter to come. And eventually the warmth and new life of Spring comes again. Always.
We are like that tree.
What change is grieving and challenging you? How are you reacting to it?
Remember, sometimes a part of has to die so we can truly live. Hardship and pain bring about "endings" that can, if we let them ...
... Protect us from greater disaster,
... Propel us to greater achievements, and
... Permit us to experience the comfort of God.
Dear friends, the end can better than the beginning, because the end IS the beginning. God will do the new thing, Spring will come, and your life will flourish again. In the meantime, ask God to make you stunningly beautiful through it all.