Sometimes real beauty can only be discovered by adversity. When we go through the fire, common things are refined into something uncommon. Challenge and pain can uncover hidden virtues, passions, and possibilities.
Watching nature transition from the luscious life of summer to the vibrant beauty of autumn, it is hard to miss that a deeper beauty is revealed in the process of letting go. As the nourishing light begins to diminish, trees struggle to keep their foliage, but even as they lose the battle again, a palate of colors is revealed. Each day loses more sunlight, but that light becomes more dramatic at the same time. Even the composting leaves and grass become richness for the future.
Too often, as we face obstacles in our lives we lose sight of what is on the other side of the challenge. Lost in the drama of the moment, we miss what beautiful thing is being created in us. The test we face is producing a testimony that will bring light to dark spaces and color the gray places.
I do not believe that God causes evil in our lives, but from the painful moments, God can create something wonderful. During an especially difficult time in my life, I shared my challenges with a dear friend. As I poured out the issues before me, he replied, “Just remember, God does his best work in chaos.”
What a wonderful truth. The biblical story even begins there, as the Spirit hovers over the chaos and God says, “Let there be.” In a moment, at the word of God, the disorder begins to take on the order and the beauty of creation. As the story goes on, we find places where Israel’s chaotic experience becomes the setting for God’s recreation. We read of people, great and small, who God leads out of their challenges to new beginnings. Even in the death and resurrection of Jesus we see God redeeming darkness and death to bring forth light and life, and the promise of his future return is the expectation of the ultimate re-creation.
The difficult places of life are never enjoyable and they can feel like they have no end, but God, who declares the end from the beginning, not only sees where our challenges are taking us, but is personally invested in seeing that we get there. When things get tough, it is easy to throw our hands up, sit down and give up, but that is precisely the time when we need to press into God, draw strength from the Spirit and push through the dark valley to the hidden beauty beyond.
Whatever you are facing today, God is more than big enough, more than able to redeem it by using the tough moments to reveal the hidden beauty within you. Have patience. Have hope. The God of all creation is with you, loves you and is speaking words of creation over your life even now.