Beauty from Bleakness
As I took a break from my work, I looked out my kitchen window. While I have been at home now, for two weeks, I realized I hadn’t really taken a look at my back garden for quite some time.
As I stood there, casting my eyes deep into the garden, I suddenly realized that what had been barren and gloomy, in the cold of winter, was now springing forth the most beautiful of sights. And, I hadn’t done a thing to make it happen.
I stepped out my back door and I instantly soaked up the warmth of the sun. I looked around and saw planters, that had been empty just weeks ago, now full of perennials coming to life. I saw, what had been barren bushes and trees now filling with beautiful, tender leaves. I saw stunning flowers springing forth and the sunlight streaming through branches. As I wandered, further in my garden, I looked at my pond. A few weeks ago, during days of days of rain, it was muddy and murky. It is now a beautiful deep rich color with fish swimming back and forth.
The garden has started to come out of a period of dormancy, with a life and vibrancy that I had lost sight of during the bleak months of winter.
The time of bleakness, where I couldn’t see what was being accomplished within the landscape, was actually a time where the plants were resting, when they were soaking up nutrients and gaining strength to not only help them survive the challenges of winter, but to prepare them to thrive and reflect the beauty that was there all along, yet I couldn’t see it.
And, I didn’t have to do a thing to make it happen. God was working the beauty within and nourishing the garden while I was unable to see His handiwork.
Yet, as I walked along the paths in my back garden, I noticed areas that were still a mess. These were areas that require my attention. That need me to tend to them, to be able to see the beauty and the potential that is there, if I only do my part.
I looked at areas, full of weeds, where a vegetable garden once thrived. It was hard to imagine it could be what it once was. A place of flourishing and of peaceful moments while tending it. The joy of seeing how, in working alongside God, I could see not only His handiwork but mine. For I was the one to remove the weeds and to nourish the soil. I was the one to plant seeds, water and eventually see the harvest.
As I stood looking around my garden at what God had accomplished without my seeing it, and that which could be accomplished with my time and attention, I thought of the parallels in where we all find ourselves now.
We see ourselves in a period where we see the chaos around us, we see a landscape that, at times, looks very bleak. We miss what we had; and what we realize, now, is that we took it for granted. But rest assured that God is in the background working that which we cannot see. Not just within the current crisis, but in everything. In the barrenness, we may lose sight of this, but it doesn’t take away from the reality of God’s work. Yet we also must take this time to see our role and decide what we will do.
With this gift of time, most of us find we have now, how are we going to take a look at the mess, the weeds, and deal with them? Are we going to search our souls to ask God how we can work alongside Him, during and after this crisis to nourish our soul and the souls of others? How we can plant seeds within ourselves and others and lovingly care for those seeds and, to one day, see the harvest to be found?
It reminds me of the days before Easter. The apostles had enjoyed such closeness with Jesus over the time they had been with Him. Their eyes saw the miracles of Jesus. Their ears heard the wisdom of God flow through His lips. They held out the hope that Jesus was the very Messiah foretold by the prophet Isaiah, yet they hadn’t fully grasped the part in Isaiah about the suffering servant.
They had no idea, even though Jesus had tried to prepare them, of the change of circumstances they were about to encounter. They would see Jesus suffer a horrible death before their eyes. They didn’t know what to make of it. What they saw and experienced was very bleak. They didn’t see what God was doing in the background, but He was at work. While their hopes were crushed, they would soon find a new hope and one that was not simply based on earthly circumstances, but that which was eternal.
While God was working to bring beauty out of what looked bleak, He was also giving them the opportunity to partner with Him. In tending to the soil of their souls and those of others.
We too are given the same opportunity, as the apostles, to do our part. Our part in nourishing our souls and those around us, in planting seeds within us, and in others. To tend to those seeds, to give hope not found simply in circumstances but eternally, for a harvest that will one day be visible to our eyes.
May you find hope in these difficult times and look within yourselves and outward to others and do what you can do and leave the rest to God.
God Bless you,
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