Years ago, I was driving on a cold winter afternoon after an ice storm had hit our city during the night before.
I need to preface this with the reality that I do not delight in winter,
nor do I relish cold.
When it’s 80 degrees outside, I’m in hog heaven!
This being the case, when ice not only lines every blade of grass, but the streets as well, I’m in no hurry to drive anywhere. I much prefer to hunker down in my home and keep the fire burning until Spring! Nevertheless, necessity required that I run an errand and I found myself with both fists clinching the steering wheel while driving on our ice-covered country roads. As much as I could handle eliminating the entire winter season, there is one thing about a Missouri ice storm I’ve always found breathtaking –
As I drove along on this frigid day, I noticed the sun absolutely twinkling off the ice-laden trees as if they were diamond-crested visions of splendor; it was magnificent. I didn’t mind the necessity to drive slowly; I simply could not get enough of their beauty.
Eventually, I reached my destination, accomplished my task, and began my journey home. I was anxious to get to the particular country road that had so grasped my attention and yet when I got there, the view had changed. The trees that were dancing with light only an hour before were now dark, cold, and dreary. Their limbs that had broken under the heavy weight of ice were now readily apparent and to be completely honest, the new vision was quite depressing. My heart sank as I had so recently been praising the Lord for the beauty of His creation and had looked forward to basking in it once again. Like a child disappointed on Christmas morning, I wondered what had changed so quickly. I must have just caught the sun at the perfect time; my chance to see its beauty must have been over.
A bit saddened by the whole account, upon coming to the end of the road, I turned around to look once more at the trees that had brought me such joy – as well as such disappointment. To my amazement, they were ablaze with light, dancing with beauty that now seemed to surpass any beauty they had provided before.
The sun had not changed.
The trees had not changed, nor their beauty.
The only factor that had changed was the direction in which I was driving; my perspective had completely been altered. On my way, I had seen the same trees, burdened with the weight of ice, brittle and breaking under their heavy load, but beautiful in the midst of their trial as the sun shone so brilliantly upon their weakened branches and filled them with light. On my way home, as my perspective had changed, so did my focus. I saw only their burden, their brokenness, the devastation, and the darkness. In no way, though, had their beauty disappeared… it was simply my choice as to which side of the trees I would set my gaze.
Much like these trees are the hardships and trials of life; we must decide upon which side of them we will choose to set our gaze. There are always two sides of every trial, just as there are every ice-laden tree. Will you set your mind to finding God’s perspective – to looking for the beauty that will come from the ashes of even the darkest trial? Are you able, even now, to look back on a storm of life and see beauty amidst the brokenness?
Ask God to show you what He’s brought you through that has made you a more usable vessel for Him, a more beautiful creation, a greater reflection of His light.
Thank Him for bringing you through past trials, for holding you through current suffering. If you need, request that He help you to see the light in a trial that has so far seemed to provide only darkness. Ask Him to open your eyes to a new and fresh perspective, not only as you turn to look at the trees in your past, but as you drive into the seasons ahead.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
And let endurance have its perfect result,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(Taken from the as I AM ministries’ Bible study James – Living a Life of Faith. http://www.asIAMministries.org)