Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Something Beautiful

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time..."
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV)

You know, it never ceases to amaze me how God can 
take our mess and turn it into our message.

He can take a life that has been shipwrecked beyond repair
(at least through human eyes),
and He can put all of the pieces back together again
and make it altogether new.  
He can take the very things that have ended us up
in the "damaged goods" bin of life
and turn those things into a useful message
that will enlighten and uplift the lives of others.

How could you and I ever relate to the broken ones
if we were never broken?
How could we learn to show the love of Jesus,
if we had never experienced His healing, tender love....
on the most intimate, personal of levels?
How could we understand heartache,
and loss, and hurt, and devastation,
were we never waylaid by the destructive storms of life?

I don't know how God does it.
Where I see useless rubbish, He sees a thing of value.
Where I see unnecessary pain, He sees hidden character.
Where I see a hopeless mess, He sees an amazing message.

It is all in the eyes of the Beholder.
He sees beyond the surface, not the artificial mask that is ugly and unbecoming.
He sees today as the beginning, not the end.
He sees the beauty of the finished product,
not the jumbled mess in His hands.

I look at trials through the fog of misunderstanding and tears.
He sees them as learning tools that will shape my future.
I perceive my mistakes, blunders, and failures as disastrous stumbling blocks.
He sees them as enlightening stepping stones.
I imagine that all is lost.
He sees a perfect victory.

How can this be?

Mom and Dad Smith's house is an older home that 
was built back before closets were considered a necessity.
There is very little storage and no place to hang clothes.
My father-in-law came across some walnut boards, 
and from them he created this beautiful wardrobe.
Had I found the same boards lying in a pile of wood, 
I would have undoubtedly left them there, 
not knowing what to do with them.
In my hands, they would have had no potential.
I would have seen nothing more than plain, unfinished boards.
But, when those same walnut boards were placed into the hands of a lifelong carpenter,
something wonderful and beautiful and useful was crafted and created.

God is the Master Builder.
He sees potential in every scrap heap of human brokenness.
He finds worth in every damaged life. 

"Man's way leads to a hopeless end;
God's way leads to endless hope."
Author Unknown

I have struggled to make sense of situations through which 
I have been left broken....
shattered to bits.
I have cried and prayed and questioned,
only to come up empty and void of answers.
I have honestly wondered if there was any hope left.
If there was any use to anticipate good coming out of all of the bad.
If evil really had won.
I hate to admit it, but I have even wondered
if all things really do work together for good
to them that love God.
I have entertained the thought that maybe I should just give up, 
and stop looking for a brighter day.
To just accept things the way they are...
to somehow become comfortable...
here on the scrap heap.

Just when I nearly caved,
right when I was on the verge of giving in...
to those awful thoughts...
of accepting utter hopelessness...
it happened.
The most tender and loving of hands 
gently picked me up, 
softly blew away the accumulated dust,
and held me close.

Someone else would have just passed right on by.
Those with less compassion would have counted me out.
Less observant eyes would have missed me altogether.
More critical onlookers would have written me off....
as being down for the count.

"Just another shipwreck on the turbulent sea of life",
they would have said as they shook their heads and walked on...
anxious to get away from the awful scene of ugliness and wreckage.

But, He....
oh, He!
He saw that under the pile of mess,
I was there.
Still breathing,
still longing to be useful to Him,
still craving to be beautiful...
in His eyes.
He heard the hushed sobs...
wrenched from someplace deep....
that only He knew about.
And He cared.
He stopped...
He stooped....
and He listened close.

He couldn't pass me by.
He saw the potential...
of a message...
not the hopelessness...
of a mess.

I am different now.
Changed somehow.
Not as full of spunk and spark as before.
A little more jaded on this side of the trial.
But, I am in the hands of the Master.
He is putting the pieces back together....
little by little....
bit by bit....
ever so gently.

He encourages me daily, by the sweetness of His presence.
He binds up my wounds, in the tenderest of ways.
He lets me know that all is not lost.
That there are brighter days coming.
That one day this will all be a distant memory.

He makes all things His time.
Not ours.
We want to be whole...instantly.
We want all to be right....immediately.
We want

What a jumbled disaster we would make of things...
were it left up to us.

In His wisdom...
in His time...
something pleasing will emerge.

It will all make perfect sense.

The mess...
yes, even the mess of me....
 will be made beautiful....
in His eyes...
in His time.

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