Strong and Beautiful

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.

Last month we had an unusual arctic freeze to visit our state.  We got news about the Polar Vortex heading to the United States, bringing intense freezing weather as it flows through southern Canada and the northern part of the U.S.  This air mass plunged southward towards the Gulf of Mexico, hitting Texas with power outages and leaving millions of people without electricity – no heat. Emotions ranged from excitement at the thought of getting snow in a normally warm state to that of anger and anxiety over the aftermath of the freezing temperatures which hovered over the state for about a week.

Photos from the Texas Tribune.

It’s now March, and life here is working on its comeback.  Due to the freeze, we experienced a burst pipe at our home, which drew water all over the carpeted flooring in one of the bedrooms.  We got the pipe fixed (thanks to my baby brother and sister duo), and the floors are on the mend.  But many, many people had far worse experiences for which they are still sorting through as we head into the Easter season. There’s lots of dead foliage to be seen when driving by local shopping centers, entertainment centers, parks and neighbor’s yards.  In our own flowerbed, we have a set of tall bushes that have gone through many Texas cold seasons just fine, producing lush green leaf-like growths that create a nice ambiance to the yard when looking out of the window.  However, they didn’t make it this time through the unusual freeze that descended on our city. They turned brown and will probably have to be dug up and replaced.  Still standing in place though are these delicate buds just below those bushes, which produce beautiful pink blooms every spring. These, to my amazement, made it through the freeze and showed up for another spring to shower us again with their awesome presence – just look at them!

The photo below is of the earlier-mentioned bushes and the blooms from Spring of last year, taken from a slightly different angle, less the brick trim.  Just looking at these inspired me to think of God’s power and how He can take a seemingly hopeless event and turn the outcome into something beautiful where you come out stronger than before you entered.

Much like the visual interpretation displayed with our plants, I’ve had arctic-sized storms to come and try to infiltrate my life to where I’m paralyzed with fear and uncertainty.  I’m not special, we’ve all had events to come that seem to be so overwhelming that we have no idea how – short of a miracle – we would make it to the other side.  You can do all that you’re supposed to do in order to prepare for certain events, but the challenges that arrive appear to be so much larger than money saved, wisdom instilled in our children, or support and love given to a spouse.  What I’ve been learning to do is to shift my focus away from the monster before me, and trust that the Lord God will bring me through it.  This isn’t something that’s done magically, but takes dedication to the decision made to do so.  I can tell you that it gets hard to look past a negative situation that’s staring you down – it can be overwhelming and feel permanent.  But if you’ll keep your focus on the Lord, you WILL get to the other side.  The arrival of storms is only new to us but not to God, and they all “come to pass” (as mentioned many times in the Bible) – never are they here to stay.

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