I have always loved Isaiah 61. It is one of those go to chapters that has enriched my life. But after my trip out West, it has taken on an even richer meaning to me. I am convinced that we can move from devastation to beauty.
As we walked through fields of almost solid lava rocks and huge boulders, I was amazed at how much devastation a volcano could cause. The last time we were at Sunset Crater it was covered by a soft blanket of snow, but this time the scars lay bare. We took several trails through and along the volcanic river flows. Miles and miles of devastation. I didn’t realize how much more of the volcanic rock I would see. I had a long list of National Parks that I wanted to see on our trip out West. Zion and Bryce have been on my bucket list for nine long years, so they were a priority on our trip. The hotel where we stayed was a little over a hour away from both of them.
From the pictures I had seen I knew they would be spectacular, but I never expected our route would take us through my new favorite place, Cedar Break National Monument and the Duck Lake area.
Again, we saw miles and miles of volcanic boulders where another ancient volcano had spewed it’s angry flow down its sides and into the valley below. Beautiful shiny jet black and ebony colored boulders were on both sides of the road. But, also growing along the road were emerald evergreens, tall with sharp points kissing an azure sky! Among the evergreens I met my first aspens.
They call them “quaking” aspen and they are Utah’s state tree.
I was fascinated that the quaking aspen could thrive in the rubble of the shiny slabs and porous boulders of volcanic rock. Magnificent clusters of both large and small aspen standing on skinny lily-white trunks with golden leaves that shimmered from the smallest wind and sparkled as the sunlight tickled their face. The glimmer of sunlight caused them to glow like someone had plugged them into an outlet. They stood against a background of inky green fir trees, so green they were almost black. The beauty was awe-inspiring. When the wind whistled through the trees, the leaves danced and skipped with such intensity it seemed the whole tree joined the party.
Navajo Lake is formed from the water seepage through volcanic rock.
We walked slowly down a path under the canopy of God’s handiwork drinking in it’s beauty. The path took us around the blue and turquoise waters of Duck Lake where a family was fishing and a family of ducks were swimming. Tall, skinny red grasses swooned at the feet of the majestic beauties. All I could say was thank you! Thank you God for making these trees, the sunlight, the lake and all the accompanying plants and creatures that made this view so spectacular. I worshipped Him from a deep place in my heart, as I walked drinking in the beauty fashioned by God’s Words.
I had to ask…
As I thought about the lava fields and the apparent devastation, I had to ask, “How could this destruction be turned into something so beautiful?” How? I felt like God whispered, “A seed.” Then he continued, “A watered seed!”
Then the understanding came that the living painting my eyes captured before me was a picture of the very nature of God. I was seeing more than nature. I was seeing HIS NATURE, His personality. His heartbeat.
It is God’s nature in the midst of devastation…
In the midst of
ANY and all devastation
to bring healing and wholeness!
God wants to give you new life, joy, peace
and beauty. You can move from devastation to beauty!
He want to give you a crown of beauty in exchange for your ashes!
…he will give a crown of beauty for ashes
You have a role here.
And, He has given us the opportunity and the privilege to partner with Him in this process. Our role is to plant the seed; the word of God in the middle of the devastation.
Plant the WORD of God
Matthew 13:23 NIV “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Plant good seed. What does God say about your situation. Find a Scripture. Plant what God says, not what you feel. Pray it. Declare it. Focus on it. Think about it.
There is life in the word.
Victory that even death can’t steal.
Water it with faith.
Maybe you feel like you don’t have any left.(Aren’t you glad faith isn’t a feeling.) Maybe you feel like yours is all gone…that this is more than you can handle. (Aren’t you glad that you are not alone. That’s God’s power is available when you “feel” your weakest.)
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
And maybe it is…more than YOU can handle… but it’s not more than HE can handle. Ask for His strength. Trust Him. Lean into His presence.
You don’t need fancy words. Renew your mind with the promises of God.What He did for others…the stories in Scripture. Allowing yourself to trust without trying to figure out how and when and why.
Just trust. Focus on Him and choose to trust. As you trust Him,His strength will flow into you. His strength is more than a feeling, His vitality will fill you with peace, Joy and hope.
A New Beautiful
As I looked at the spectacular beauty in the midst of what had been utter destruction, I realized that the landscape would never look like it did before the volcano. The landscape was changed by what had happened. But this was a new kind of beautiful. It was different than before, but just because it was different doesn’t mean it wasn’t spectacular!
You may feel like your life is over; that it can NEVER be beautiful again.
That’s a lie from the pit of Hell! God can bring new life into your brokenness and pain. But, you have to submit your way of thinking and believing and receive God’s NEW!
Father, I thank you that your nature is to bring life and healing in the midst of devastation and pain. Give my dear reader hope and the courage to plant your word in the middle of their disappointment, in the middle of their loss and pain, then help them to lift their eyes to behold your great love and power. Amen.
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