Beauty from suffering? Are you crazy?! I’ve had that very thought in the past, but now have a slightly different perspective.
I refer to the beauty that can come from suffering when molded in God’s hands. I’m focused on the supernatural beauty of spirit that He exchanges for the ashes of our dark times spent in hopelessness and pain. I’ve experienced this dynamic in my life, and I recognize this kind of beauty immediately when I see it in other people. Those that made a choice to continue trusting God and to live with abiding joy in the face of crippling emotional and physical circumstances. Whether it’s something urgently needed, person that never came, or a physical, emotional, or mental injury that has not healed.
The believer who carries their sorrows, yet continues to move forward in following Jesus, this person has the victory! They can have a visible anointing on them which has caused me to think to myself “I want to know more about this person! What choices have they made to produce such a clear display of God’s presence in their life?” This believer may feel their life is broken or incomplete, but yet they choose to trust what Jesus has told them in scripture. God’s beauty of spirit radiating from them is ample proof that He is still at work in their life.
The key, I’m learning from my experiences, is to stop running away from the suffering I see ahead of me, such as decades of a life alone, not entirely by choice, and with no resolution in sight. An emotional ache like the slow bleed of a long-term, small injury that zaps my strength and sometimes makes me want to stop in my tracks. I acknowledge that this part of the process never seems to get easier, but I steel myself despite my seemingly unmet needs, and choose to enter the crucible with God’s guidance. The times in which I have made this choice, in which I have silently carried my burning question of “Why Lord?,” and focused my attention on what he was assigning me now - these are my times of true victory. The life ahead of me, with new challenges and Holy Spirit assignments, is something I initially undertake for God’s sake and the benefit of others, but I later discover this persistence is also for my benefit.
My trusting obedience to move forward without answers has been when God has healed and transformed me to the next stage, the next level of knowing him. With the searing heat of the spiritual crucible still vivid in my mind and emotions, I faced my ashes, handed them over to God, and asked Him to redeem them somehow. He then lovingly touched my death-like experiences with His healing spirit, and transformed them into the redemptive lesson He designed them to be all along. I no longer needed my life circumstances to meet my expectations. When I allowed God’s presence in my life to expand and fill the deep internal void I felt daily, I found that His grace was sufficient even for me. His joy filled me to bursting and I had to share it with others, often without words. In this way, Christ resurrects me continually with His love, and I rise and live to smile again.
About the Author
Sara has attended CitySalt Church since 2004, the year it was founded. She studied Journalism, wrote for her college newspaper, and is a member of Oregon Christian Writers. Sara also enjoys singing hymns with friends: “there is a sermon in every hymn waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.”