A month or two ago, my husband and I bought our kids a trampoline for the back yard as an early Christmas present. Since then, the kids have used the trampoline almost every day—if not every day. Timmy loves the trampoline, too. He loves bouncing, jumping and running in circles on it, giggling in delight.
The other day, I was sitting on our front porch watching Timmy play in the front yard. After a little while, he came up to me and said, “I want to go on the trampoline.”
“OK,” I said. “Go ahead.”
“You can come, too,” Timmy offered hopefully.
“No, thank you,” I said. (Normally, I love the trampoline, but I was right in the middle of something.)
But Timmy didn’t give up. “Come on!” he pleaded. “It’s gonna be … beautiful!”
My heart melted. How could I refuse an invitation like that? “OK!” I said enthusiastically, getting up to follow Timmy as he ran into the backyard.
And you know what? It was a beautiful time. The weather was great (about 70 degrees, despite its being the middle of December), and I got to spend some time with my precious son, see him enjoying the gift we had given him, and hear his delighted giggles.
If I hadn’t accepted his invitation, I would indeed have missed a beautiful time.
I wonder … how many beautiful times have I missed with God because I didn’t want to come along with Him?
God invites me (and you) to be with Him every day. To talk to Him, to bask in His presence, to learn from Him, to simply hang out together. If you regularly take advantage of the opportunities He offers you, great! But if you’re like me, and you sometimes miss the chance to spend time with Him because you’re too busy, or you aren’t paying attention and thus never hear His invitation, or you simply don’t want to go where He’s going, you’re missing out on something beautiful.
There is a beautiful component to everything God asks us to walk with Him through, but we don’t always see it. It’s too hard, we whine, or That doesn’t sound like fun, or I’m too busy. We consider the opportunity, and if there’s anything negative about it, we decline. True, we might avoid some of the negative aspects, but we also miss the “something beautiful” that God wanted us to delight in.
What beautiful thing does God want to show you in the midst of something difficult right now? What beauty does He want to bring out of circumstances that are challenging or even tragic?
Motherhood definitely falls in the “challenging” category sometimes (often?). You and I have the choice to focus either on the fact that the kids have been bickering all day and the laundry isn’t done and we’re tired, or on the beauty that is present even in the midst of the chaos. Beauty like the fact that we have wonderful children (even if they may not be acting wonderful right now), or like our children’s hugs or even those pictures they draw where you’re not sure what the object is, but they present the artwork to you with pride.
Maybe you’re struggling with health issues, with financial concerns or with grief. Those things aren’t beautiful in and of themselves, but even in the midst of them, you can experience the beauty of God’s presence, close and intimate in ways He might not be apart from the difficult circumstances. Or maybe you’ll experience the beauty of friends coming alongside you, or of God’s unexpected provision.
I don’t claim to understand how God brings beauty out of ugliness. I just know that He does.
Nor do I claim to know exactly what kind of beauty God will bring from your situation. I just know that He will. How do I know? Because He’s promised.
Don’t stay focused on the negatives when God’s inviting you to experience beauty, when He says, “Come on! It’s going to be beautiful.”
Believe Him. Go look for the beauty.
Isaiah 61:3—To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.