Sunday, April 2, 2017

What comes after it falls apart?

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 91: Today, I am grateful for what comes AFTER the world falls apart. 

Yes. It is one of those times that a quote causes me to pause and reconsider that we, like silver... are refined by fire. 

My friend Susan just wrote a beautiful Facebook post on the burning of the roadsides in the country that are a sign of spring and yield the hope of new life when the fires subside. Soon they will break forth with new, green life that will add color to the roadside. 

For many people... the tough stuff comes in cycles. Some seasons are good and others are full of trouble. Most are a bit of a mixed bag, but there are times the whole world seems to be crashing down around us. 

Then, we find ourselves with a choice or two to make. We can harden our hearts or we can hit the floor in a prayer of surrender to a God bigger than our human understanding. Choice.

I learn by asking questions. Frankly, I've learned very little from canned answers. It is searching questions that help us find hope, meaning and strength. 

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:13

This is a verse I have grown to love... Jeremiah 29:11 is popular... but it is verse thirteen that puts eleven into motion. 

Here is a question that morphed into more of a "Eureka" moment.

What if the trial you are facing today was the first trial you ever encountered? Would you be prepared? 

I have come to trust the heart of a loving God who allows us some tough stuff to strengthen us, to refine us and to grow our faith.  This Marianne Williamson quote is excellent:

"Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart; a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor." 

Broken and beautiful. Broken and stronger. Broken but not destroyed. It makes me think of the Isaiah scripture about trading in beauty for ashes.

"and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."-Isaiah 61:3

To those who grieve - He is ready to make a trade with those who seek his face.

A Crown of Beauty - for ashes. I love a crown.

The Oil of Joy - for mourning. Talk about trading up. I love the pure joy that oozes from those who have nothing to gain by clinging to this world. Live or die... they can't lose. 

A Garment of Praise... a Gratitude Garment -  for despair. How would you design a "garment of praise?" 

Become "Oaks of Righteousness" - tall, strong, beautiful and ready to present ourselves to the master for his hand to carve us into something useful. 

Is it trouble... or is it training?  Could it be both?  

Today, I am grateful for what comes AFTER the world falls apart. 

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