“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 ESV).
Lynn Simpson’s comment on my July blog became a prompt to start off our August theme: "Beauty can come from and grow in the most unexpected places! This includes our dark places when 'grappling with writing issues'". I have a sense that our theme of “Beauty” from July can continue into August, this time with an emphasis on rejoicing, patience and prayer in dark places when we struggle.
A number of years ago I went through a dark and silent time when life seemed to be moving backward, not forward. I was wrestling with brokenness in my health and a necessary career move. My wisdom was inadequate to comprehend God's purposes.
One Sunday at church the soloist sang a beautiful piece that spoke into my need:
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling you in the night.
While I didn't recognize it at the time, God was singing over me with his love and compassion, reminding me of the Psalmist’s words, "His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NLT). Sometimes God reminded me, "This difficult time is a time of tender preparation.” I couldn't see an order of God's plan, nor did I know how God was taking the broken pieces of my situation, and as the Master Artist, He was designing a new mosaic.
|Mona Lisa of Galilee mosaic|
After a time, God brought my situation together into a new design, piece by piece, reminding me now of the mosaics I saw in Israel. The details became clearer as He opened the way for me to teach English as a Second Language, first on a part-time basis and then full-time. My life flourished once again. The world was in my classroom and I discovered rich cultural perspectives, backgrounds and characters of my students—from over 130 countries. I also discovered an abundance of topics to journal and write about. But most importantly, I got to know and love people from all over the world, praying with and for them, meeting their educational and career needs, and helping them to adjust to life in Canada. I grew in empathy for our immigrants, a sensitivity I still carry today.
As I look back on that time of transition, I have a clearer perspective on some of God’s purposes. Scripture and other quotes helped me then and now in retrospect, and these may give you encouragement in your situation.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT).
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you (Isaiah 43:2 NLT).
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NLT).
Do not force or push for anything. If nothing comes, continue to rest in God relative to that situation. If wisdom or a next step does not come, determine that you will respond faithfully as God makes your way clear. Ruth Haley Barton
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Now over to you. Take this month’s suggestion from Michelle Brown: How can you use the lead verse (above) in your writing when you are struggling to find your message; alternatively, how does this apply to your life or a circumstance you’ve been through?