It’s fire season where I live. That generally means two things:
1) It’s not uncommon to walk outside and have the sudden smell of smoke direct your eyes up to the heavens, seeking the source of the pungent stench.
2) Air quality is generally not good.
The city I call “home” is nestled between two mountain ranges which exacerbates the problem because without a rain or windstorm, the air gets trapped in the valley, further degrading our air quality.
As ugly as the haze is during the day, evening garners a different perspective. Stunning sunsets and an outstanding array of color fill the sky when our air is filled with filth. A few years ago, the smoke was so thick during the day it was hard to see the mountains just behind my home, but when the full moon began to rise, it took my breath away. I’d never seen such a bright orange moon!
Without dirty air, neither breathtaking sight (sunset or orange moon) would be possible. It reminds me that God can make some pretty cool stuff in spite of the dirt in our lives.
The bible is replete with evidences of this truth, not the least of which is the story of Joseph. Joseph’s older brothers sold him to slave traders in an effort to get him out of their hair…but they couldn’t have known that their cruel decision born in evil, would literally save their lives – and the future of the entire Israeli nation! (You can read the entire account in Genesis, chapters 37 and 39-46).
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
-Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
Life will hand us any number of hardships, but it is sure comforting to remember that, like Joseph, God not only sees what’s going on, but will use it all for his good purpose. Romans reminds us:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
-Romans 8:28 (NIV)
ALL things. Not just the good things – it’s the bad things, too. He uses the filth, grime, difficult, and harmful conditions as fertile soil to create something breathtaking we’ve never seen before – like that flourescent orange moon that night.
In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. John 16:33 assures us we will experience trouble in this world. But that truth is quickly followed with a promise from Jesus. He says:
But take heart; I have overcome the world.
-John 16:33 b (ESV)
If you are experiencing trouble and hard circumstances, let these words and truths sink in – and take heart! Christ will be victorious!
Heavenly Father, From dirt you formed your most beautiful creation – people. Every time I see a fire season sunset, let me remember that you will use all the good and bad things to create something beautiful in my life – something that honors you and brings you glory. In the moments when the thick clouds of smoke send me gasping for fresh air, help me turn my eyes to the heavens where you will lead me to safety. Amen.
Taking it Deeper:
What ugly things have you observed or experienced in life - or the world around you – that God transformed into something beautiful? Remember these things when the going gets tough.
For more encouragement today, I hope you’ll visit my friend Kirsten Holmberg’s blog. Her entire speaking and writing ministry was born out of Romans 8:28: ”All things. Our Good. His Glory.”