Sense of the Wreckage

10:06 AMHeather

The last few weeks have brought many images of wreckage as every media outlet details the damage from Hurricane Sandy.  It is astounding to see how this monster storm left a path of destruction nearly unfathomable.  Homes wiped out.  Communities underwater.  Remnants of the famous Atlantic Beach boardwalk strewn for blocks in all directions.  Truly, its only when I've seen aerial images of these communities before the storm versus after can I begin to grasp the enormity of the damage done.  

I think all too often, this is an analogy for our lives.  Our "before" picture was normal and intact and happy and content.  And then the storms of life blow through, and we feel like this couple--holding on to our loved one while we peer out to the destruction all around us of what was once our happy little life.  But, circumstances have now left a path of destruction.  Nothing feels whole or right anymore.  Like my sweet friend from high school.  Within a few weeks time span, she and her husband have endured a health scare for their daughter (with lingering questions), followed by a wrecked car after hitting a deer, and then the unexpected death of her husband's brother.  That's a lot to take in, particularly as it hit in quick succession.  Or another friend whose has spent the last year wrestling through scary situations with not one but both of her children.  Or my friend whose been working through health issues resulting in a surgery.  Once cleared to be out and about again, she was in a car wreck, leaving fresh pain to her already tired body.  Within two days, her husband's vehicle was hit and totaled.  The end result of all these circumstances?  Weary.  Worn out.  Unraveled.  Wreckage in all directions.

Indeed, in this world we will and do have tribulations.  The enemy prowls about, wreaking havoc in our lives.  And, we are undone.  We are like the victims of Sandy, wading through the flood of pain, trying to make sense of what's happened to us, with nothing in our view but debris.  

And I bet if we were all to be perfectly honest, we'd admit that it makes us question the goodness of the God we serve.  Because the pain and circumstances are staggering.  All that we counted on and enjoyed and expected has been torn to shreds by the winds and waves of life.

Glimpse of GRACE:  I pray that I may encourage you today, if you are in the midst of such destruction, seeing your life wrecked and damagedThis morning, I camped out in Jeremiah 31, and there I found a precious little promise tucked away in a chapter I've read multiple times.  But, I'd never seen it for the hope that it brings upon further inspection.

 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:27-28

Do you see what I see here?  What I wrote in my Bible margin was this truth, this promise of hope...

"When we endure a season of hardship and destruction, He promises that it ushers in a season of rebuilding and planting.  It has a greater purpose!"

My friend Terri recently had her kitchen remodeled.  It is a beautiful sight to behold! (and yes, I readily admit makes me covet it's greatness).  But before the kitchen could be built with all it's spectacular improvements, it first had to do go through a demolition stage.  Those lovely sconces, recessed lighting, and bigger kitchen island could not be installed until the old had been ripped out.  

This, my friends, is how it goes in our hearts when we walk with the Lord.  We endure seasons of wreckage and feel abandoned and anguished and undone.  We question why this happened.  We sit back and see only the debris.  These are the moments when we have to make a choice.  Will we choose to believe that our God is big enough to take that debris, clear it out, and in it's place, rebuild us for a greater purpose?  Can we trust he can redeem our deepest pits?  Will we choose to trust that He is still good, even when our life isn't?  Will we choose to believe Jeremiah 31:27-28--that seasons of disaster can usher in the sweetest seasons of rebuilding and planting and fresh harvest?  Will we choose to believe that His covenant of love is never broken, even when our hearts are? 

It's a leap of faith, to be sure.  From personal experience, I can assure you this.  Every single season of pain and grief and loss in my life has been and is being sweetly redeemed for His greater good.  He has always cleared my debris, and in its place, the miracle of being rebuilt has happened.  And it continues to happen.  Decades later, He can still pull back the curtain of heaven to show me a tiny glance at how he has used my wreckage to usher in fresh seasons of planting.  I never cease to be amazed.  To see a purpose in those pains mean they aren't useless.  And I have a feeling that when I look Him in the face some day, I will be awed and speechless at the amazing fruit that came through these seasons of destruction.   I have a feeling that I will confidently say it was all worth it.  Use it all, Lord.  Use it all for your greater good!


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