[From ‘Barren to Beautiful’ by Rebekah]
Have you ever thought you were finally almost out of a difficult season in
your life only to find–it’s not over yet? Or, it ended briefly, only to
return with more full vengeance? Have you ever thought things were finally
changing, or finally “good,” and then find they are even worse than before?
I was looking out the window this morning and it was just so dark and
dreary. There are still remains of snow and unmelted ice. And the yard, and
ground, and earth are all muddy and brown. It’s really quite ugly. There’s
just so much mud and dirt and yuck outside. And the thermostat is only
topping off at 40 degrees. Which means we’re all still trudging around in
boots and coats.
It’s supposed to be Spring. My calendar says so. We’ve gotten a few tastes
of it, but for the most part we’re still stuck in this winter. This awful
winter, that has landed us yet again in the top 5 snowiest cities. We
thought it was finally over. We thought we were finally out of it.
And then it snows again. Isn’t this supposed to be over? Isn’t this supposed
to be different…by now?
That’s how it feels sometimes, when we are waiting on God to deliver us. Or
deliver someone we love. Or to free us from a certain situation. Or heal us
from a certain disease. Or to restore a broken relationship. To rebuild
shattered trust. To rebuild our finances. To cut us loose from a horrible
job, and give us a new one. To give us the thing that we’ve been so
desperately asking for.
Sometimes the waiting feels so long. Some times the nights feel so
desperate. Sometimes the days feel so alone. And sometimes we’re just left
wondering: Will Spring ever come?
I’m not talking about weather. I’m talking about whatever “Spring” is for
you. The “Spring” of your soul, the season of warmth, and ease, and
pleasure. The comfort for your afflicted soul.
As I looked today at all the mud, and yuck, I realized something today:
Sometimes things look worse, when they are actually getting better. Like the
earth, it is undergoing a change right now, to transition into the next
season. And while it looks ugly, and dirty, and dark outside–underneath it
all–God is doing something. He’s watering the earth. He is preparing it for
the next season. New life is just about to break forth. Spring is coming.
So, don’t throw away your hope. If things in your life suddenly look worse
than they ever have, perhaps it’s because God is preparing you for new life.
There has to be mud, before grass. Think about how during childbirth, the
last phase of labor is the most difficult. The moments of the most intense
pain come right before the baby is delivered. The moments of feeling like “I
cannot take this anymore,” come right before the deliverance.
Maybe it feels like your hope has been deferred just one too many times.
Maybe you aren’t sure if God is hearing you. Maybe you don’t know if God can
sort through such a complicated situation. Maybe you wonder if He has any
grace left for you. Maybe you wonder if God still heals. Maybe you can’t
remember a time when things were good. Maybe you are so sick of the “same
problem.” Maybe you haven’t seen grass in a very long time. Or new life.
Sometimes the ugliest moments come before the most beautiful ones. And God
is bigger than your pain, bigger than your despair, bigger than your
confusion. So don’t lose heart—if things just suddenly “got worse.” Don’t
God is in your midst. The ground looks the ugliest before new grass comes,
before flowers can grow. You are not forgotten, your way is not lost. Your
life is ever before Him. And He knows, He sees you. He hears you.
“O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest and not comforted – Behold, I will
lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with
sapphires.” Isaiah 54:11
Here’s a prayer to pray if you can’t find the words:
Oh God, I thought it would be better by now. I thought we were done dealing
with this. I thought we wouldn’t have to go through this again. And Lord, I
confess, I feel I can’t go on anymore. I feel I can’t see anything. It’s so
dark sometimes. I can’t see You, I can’t see the light, I can’t see anything
but this awful “thing.” My hope is so fragile, and weak. But here, right
here in this mess. Right here in this chaos. Right here in this death. I
lift my hands to you. Like a child needing to be carried. Like someone
needing to be rescued. Come, rescue me. “I will stand my watch and set
myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me…” (Habakkuk
2:1) I will wait for You, like the watchman waits for the morning. I won’t
fear the night. This long season of darkness. Because in the darkness, You
speak. In the mud, you plant seeds of new life, that will spring up.
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the
labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock
may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls–Yet I will
rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk
He is the hope for the one whose feet fail. If you are at a point where your
feet cannot go any further, and you have no more strength–good news! He
gives you new feet. Right at the place you can’t walk anymore. He makes your
feet like the feet of a deer, so that you can. Praise God, because you don’t
have to pull up your boot straps. You can just take off your shoes. And say,
“God, I need new feet.” And He will give you new feet. He will enable you to
walk in a way you never have before. He will enable you to walk upon the
heights. And you will be able to say, “The LORD God is my strength; He will
make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.”
Spring is coming. Your God is coming. For You. And all who hope in Him,
will never be put to shame. He makes all things new. He makes all things
grow. He leads you beside quiet waters. He makes you lie down in green
pastures. And however long this winter, the day is coming when you will walk
in the new grass, with bare feet.
So don’t despise the mud, life is about to break forth from it.
Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”