Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Beauty restored

Is it the nature of my last post - a topic which ranges from black to shades of grey - that leaves me yearning tonight for things of beauty?

for wonder

for quiet paths in leafy woods

for fields of flowers

I find that so many things have the power to give me joy - a baby's hand, a petal, a seashell, a sunrise, music, laughter, poetry, a brook running over stones, a chickadee's call, the hum of bumblebees on a hot day, the mist before dawn, a starlit sky, the sunlight dancing on the water.

I think I could go on forever - I am captivated by the beauty of creation.

Something in me responds with an upward exclamation of praise and wonder. I feel like a child.

Sometimes I think that this sensitivity, which I cherish as a gift from God, also leaves me more vulnerable to darker things.

It's a child-like quality - and like a child I tend to be taken off guard by the harsher realities of life. I don't expect blows although my almost 50 years tells me that I should expect them - I should know better.

"Toughen up" my inner boot camp sergeant orders, "Then life won't hurt so much."

There is a danger in following that course of action - in fact I think that the root problem of depression comes from shutting down emotionally so that life won't hurt so much.

There is another way.

I am learning that in Him I can retain a child-like wonder

in everything that is good, holy and true

because the whole earth is full of His glory.

I do not have to hide, like a child, from the dark. I can view the harsh things of life from my place in Him.

As I remain in Him, He will allow me to face it and not be harmed - grieved yes- as He is grieved - but not harmed.
I do not have to be afraid any longer.

Vulnerability is risky business. It takes courage. Yet I think that only as we are willing to be open and vulnerable will the Lord use us.

I think He longs to take us into the pain of others not so that we feel over-burdened but to be part of His redemptive process,

to see His light shine into the darkness and overcome it.

It is a great privilege to carry that light in His name - to release it in the strong name of Jesus Christ.

It is a thing of wonder to see beauty restored.

to look into eyes, desperate and pleading, like funnels of despair,

and see hope dawn like the sunrise

and mourning turn into laughter.

There is no greater joy than
to join with
Jesus in His ministry.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness 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 splendour.

Photo credits - Rinda Dean