Tuesday, October 12, 2021

When It Doesn't Make Sense

I studied an area of a painting from an artist I greatly admire. Up close, the brush marks appeared random and indistinct. But I took a few steps back, and what at first seemed only a haphazard application of paint now emerged as part of an exquisite landscape.

It took distance to make sense of the work.

John Singer Sargent, one of the greatest artists of the nineteenth century, was a master at this. Though I cannot find the exact quote right now, David McCullough once wrote about Sargent’s ability to capture a subject in just a few strokes. Up close, the strokes were most likely not readable, but take a step back and oh, wow.

In this life, we may face problems that are going to take distance to understand. The things God allows can often confound us, but in the elapsing of time, we may gain understanding. And of course, God’s healing power may place us in a better position to see more clearly. But, sometimes, it’s going to be in the expanse of eternity, we grasp the why and how.

Someone shared with us a quote by track and field star Sydney McLaughlin, two-time gold medalist in the Tokyo Olympics. She said, “I pray my journey may be a clear depiction of submission and obedience to God. Even when it doesn’t make sense, even when it doesn’t seem possible. He will make a way out of no way. Not for my own gratification, but for His glory. I have never seen God fail in my life. In anyone’s life for that matter. Just because I may not win every race or receive every one of my heart’s desires does not mean God has failed.”

As we're running our race, we may lack comprehension to haunting questions and conclude that God has failed us. But no, He has not. We need to take a few steps back and wait for the light He may reveal—if not in this life, then we have the expectation He will unfold His purposes in eternity.

It comes down to trust. The apostle Paul said it succinctly, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Dear friend, if you are stricken by lack of understanding in what seems a muddle of brush strokes right now, take heart and fling yourself into the arms of Jesus. Keep trusting his love and good intentions toward you.

One day, the master artist will remove the veil from the painting, and we will behold a work of beauty that exceeds anything we have ever imagined.

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is available wherever books are sold.  Also consider her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2021

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Hope Door

Sometimes, I just can't get a verse off my mind, and though I've previously written another post almost like this one, I still decided to go with it. It's what's on my heart today. Blessings, friends. 

A grim story unfolds in Joshua 7. It begins, “But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things . . . “. Every time I read that verse, I hold my breath. I know what’s coming.

After the Israelites’ famed march around Jericho and their shouts caused its walls to fall, God gave strict instructions through Joshua that only Rahab and those with her should be saved. Precious metals were to be put in the treasury of the Lord and everything else destroyed.

But Achan couldn’t let the bounty go, disobeyed, and took some of these things and hid them in his tent. For this transgression, Israel suffered a devastating defeat in their next battle.

God revealed to Joshua the cause of the loss, and eventually Achan confessed to what he had done. Then, Achan, his possessions, and family were all destroyed.

The place where this horrific scene takes place was called the Valley of Achor.

Three centuries later, the prophet, Hosea, would reference this valley and write in speaking for God, “I will . . . make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hosea 2:15).

Really, that place? At the intersection of worst nightmare and lost cause? That’s where God says he will make a door of hope? If I’d been on God’s consulting staff, I would not have done it that way.

It seems impossible.

But God doesn’t say he might make a door of hope, or he could make a door of hope. He says, I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. In situations that seem as bad as they can be, they are still not too much for God to transform by his wonder working power.

After the death of Jesus on the cross, when His friends had gone, His disciples had scattered, and all seemed lost, God raised Jesus from the dead to become our door of hope for all eternity.

When the horror of world events shakes, or tragedy strikes close and hard, or failure and sin overwhelm, what God says about the Valley of Achor helps us cling to the hope God offers in Jesus.

In the darkest times, when hearts are breaking and questions go unanswered, let’s hold on to this. Eugene Peterson translated Hosea 2:15 in this lovely way, “I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.”

This very day, God’s hand is still on the latch of the hope door. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Him and see what happens when He opens it.

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is available wherever books are sold.  Also consider her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2021

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...