I have had the privilege of being in Cleveland the past few days dropping off one of our daughters for her first year of college where she will be studying nursing. This afernoon while she was at orientation, the Lord led me to the shores of Lake Erie (which is near campus) to go for a walk.
At initial glance the path was not what I had been expecting. Indeed the lake is beautiful, appearing more like an ocean where as far as the eye can see the distant horizon meets the sky. However, the shoreline where I found access was actually no shoreline at all, but a man-made barrier constructed of large boulders and cement seemingly to hem the Great Lake in so that there is no erosion when waves surge during winter and storms.
There was a walkway, but where I had expected and hoped it would be a place where I could connect with God, initially it was not. Cars on the freeway roared adjacent and an older brick factory loomed on the freeway’s opposite side. As attractive as the factory was, it was not the time in “God’s creation” I had been anticipating all weekend.
Still it was a place to walk and so I meandered along the paths made by the cement and atop the boulder barriers. At the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I walked around again.
The first time all I saw was ugly, necessary rock tossed into place by human machinery which seemed to have been infiltrated over the years by weeds. But as I began the second time around, God began to fill me with an increase of His peace and nudged me simultaneously to slow down and really look.
Instead of weeds, these were plants and flowers growing in between the jagged boulders. Where one would think nothing could grow, elements of God’s beauty found a way to be and thrive, but God had had to slow me down and give me eyes to see (and I had to be willing to pause and look).
Moment by moment with every new step I took, He opened my eyes to more. The first plant I noticed was wild grapes. The vines climbed over many of the boulders and ripe dark grapes ready to be harvested were abundant in the late afternoon sunshine. Then wherever I looked next there seemed to be one more type of flower which had found a way to grow in the harsh environment in which it found itself.
And I thought of our lives and how many times all we can see are the huge boulders which may be a part of our circumstances by necessity, but on initial glance appear completely ugly, creating a dangerous but necessary obstacle with no beauty at all. And yet, if God can cause beauty to grow in these man-made boulder barriers, how much more can He do it in every aspect of our lives. ~ Elizabeth
Lord, give us eyes to see Your beauty in the hard and ugly places. Help us to see not just ugliness, but to recognize the small bits of beauty which You cause to grow between the rocks. By the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, use us in the lives of others to be the beautiful wildflowers and grapes growing inbetween the harsh boulders and barriers which sometimes surround them. Let Your love be the water which nourishes these plants and may each person in whose presence You place us, gradually become a planting of beauty in rough, unwelcome places to bless others as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen
PLEASE remember to view the new song, “ONE NATION UNDER GOD” on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share SHARE the link! Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.