Monday, January 7, 2013

Beauty for Ashes

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 01/07/13

We were on a bus trip and had pulled into a rest stop.  The food was iffy, the washrooms were worse!  So, we stood out in the drizzle beside a large pile of coal.   Then I spotted this butterfly which stayed there the entire time we were there.  Later I had time to reflect …

Coal …. If you touch it, some of it will attach itself to you and your hands or clothes will become dirty.  Despite its dirty nature, coal has value as fuel for cooking or heat. Despite its dark, dirty colour, there is a beauty in the shapes, the cracks and the shine.  The butterfly was not deterred by the dirty nature of coal … it chose to alight there for reasons known only to itself.  And the butterfly stayed, despite the wind that was buffeting it.   Somehow its tiny feet were able to cling to the surface of the coal.

Sometimes we look at a situation and all we see are the ashes, the dirt of the coal, the mess … and we shrink back.   But in God’s economy, everything has a purpose, even the things we view with despair, thinking there is no value.  In the midst of the brokenness, the grit and grime, God has his redemptive work in process, if we will but allow him to show us things through his perspective.   Sometimes, it is a matter of waiting for things to blossom in the fullness of his time, for the beauty to emerge.  Sometimes it is seeing things through His eyes, seeing the beauty that already exists.

Why did the butterfly choose to rest at this particular place?   It didn’t just land and then flit away on the wind, but it stayed, clinging to this piece of coal even when the winds might have carried it away.  There are times in our lives when we are in messy, uncomfortable places, and we can’t wait to get out of there.   Yet, God has us remain there.  Do we look for the beauty in the midst of the ashes, or do we merely close our eyes and endure it with frustration and impatience?  

This is a promise, a promise of redemption, renewal, new life, transformation, hope.  Can I believe God to bring beauty out of the ashes in my life at this time?

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to:

photographer: Grace, creative access country.  “Called to be a missionary, released to marry, a trailing spouse who’s lived in 4 Asian countries, now retired in Asia and serving in member care.  Who would have thought it!  God’s ways are amazing."

1 comment:

Christine said...

thank you </3


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