Inspiration

13 Reasons to Live: It’s Not Over

Blog_TheaterStageIt was my son’s first time at a play. When the curtain closed after the opening scene, he whispered, “Is it over yet?” I smiled and gently explained that there were many scenes to come before the end. He endured the remaining acts with impressive restraint for a four-year-old, though on the way home he broke down in tears. I thought it was because he’d bumped his head on the theater railing after the play, but instead he cried with greater drama than any of the actors combined, “That play was so long! It was super, super long. It was tooooo long.”

Sometimes in life, the curtain falls too soon. We’re in the midst of a trying circumstance or we’ve made some huge mistake, and we presume it’s over. Not realizing we’re on scene one of a multi-act play, we succumb to despair, thinking there’s no opportunity to redeem the mess we’re in.

Other times, it seems we’re trapped in a never-ending drama. Scene after scene unfolds and we find ourselves asking, “Will it EVER be over? How much more can I possibly endure?” We don’t realize the author has built one scene upon the other to grow his characters until the great and final outcome.

I’ve been thinking on this theme of 13 Reasons to Live for a few weeks now, considering what brings us to the point of despondency and what can bring us out. Wondering how we come to the point of wanting to give up and thinking upon all the reasons we shouldn’t.

Maybe we come to the point where we don’t have the fight in us to make it through one more act. What we don’t realize is this crucial truth of life: It IS a fight. Anything worth living for is worth fighting for, and will take fighting for.

I’m not talking about war in the way of battles and weapons. I’m talking about the day-to-day fight that must be fought for anything that’s good and worthy and true. It’s a spiritual battle, and often emotional, sometimes physical in the way that it drains our reserves and our resolve. If we’re not prepared for the battles that come, we will falter when they do. But if we’re in it for the fight, we’ll endure through the fight.

And what carries us through the daily warzone? The knowledge that we’re in the midst of redemption’s story, in which the Author of all life is the Author of our lives, working every scene together for good.

We may think it’s over, but in His hands, it’s not over until He says so. Only the Author can determine the end.

Or maybe we think it’s endless. But there will come a time when the battles of our days will cease. We’ll see that it was worth the fight, and it was worth our living and enduring. Because no Author starts a good work without bringing it to completion.

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

 

Photo Credit: Bella Rose Arts Centre – Wikipedia

Where There is Beauty

Yes, there is suffering. Yes, there is evil. Daily, we’re bombarded with news we’d rather shut our eyes and ears to. Yet still, there is beauty, tenacious beauty. Where there is beauty, there is hope. And if there is hope, there is reason to live.

 

Photo Credit: File:Bodnant Gardens, Petal strewn path – geograph.org.uk …

Greater Things to Come

Everything which would seek to steal beauty from this world and joy from our lives is compost for the greater things to come. Every tear is a seed sown, the ground watered for greater things to come. All the horrors of history, all the tragedies of today are nothing compared to the glory God will one day reveal.

 

Photo Credit: Flower Path | A flower path runs through trees at a display … | Flickr

Looking Beyond

When we live with our eyes trained on suffering, our lives become laden with despair. We may become convinced we have nothing to live for. But when we train our eyes beyond, we see there is so much more.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Valley, View, Landscape, Vegetation – Free Image on …

Stop and Consider

Blog_MountainView01

Have you ever considered the vast beauty that surrounds us, not only in flowers, but in trees and hills, mountains and valleys, rivers and seas, canyons and waterfalls? Have you ever appreciated the exquisite uniqueness of each animal that graces air, sea, and land? And does it ever confound you that each of these exist despite the surrounding death and decay? The evils of earth pale in comparison to the beauty which prevails.

 

Photo Credit: Mountain, Landscape – Free images on Pixabay

13 Reasons to Live: Tenacious Beauty

Tenacious. Not a word typically associated with flowers, but one I’d deem most appropriate. While beautiful, delicate, or colorful may seem a more suitable description, flowers must be tenacious to survive the harsh landscapes of earth.

Think of the wars, the famines, the storms and disasters, the fires that ravage and devastate our land. And yet, the flowers still bloom.

Have you ever considered the vast beauty that surrounds us, not only in flowers, but in trees and hills, mountains and valleys, rivers and seas, canyons and waterfalls? Have you ever appreciated the exquisite uniqueness of each animal that graces air, sea, and land? And does it ever confound you that each of these exist despite the surrounding death and decay? The evils of earth pale in comparison to the beauty which prevails.

I once heard the story of two men in prison, one who gazed hopelessly at the brick wall beside his bed, the other who spoke unceasingly of the landscapes beyond. The hopeless man began to believe the other was given a better lot in life, until that man perished. The now empty bed revealed both men had the same view all along, only one had trained his eyes in a different direction.

When we live with our eyes trained on suffering, our lives become laden with despair. We may become convinced we have nothing to live for. But when we train our eyes beyond, we see there is so much more.

I found this quote in a book I was reading this week: “In Paradise Lost, John Milton compares the evil of history to a compost pile—a mixture of decaying substances such as animal excrement, potato skins, egg shells, dead leaves, and banana peels. If you cover it with dirt, after some time it smells wonderful. The soil has become rich, natural fertilizer and is tremendously well suited for growing fruits and vegetables—but you have to be willing to wait—years, in some cases. Milton’s point is that the worst events of human history—those that we cannot understand—even hell itself—are compost in God’s wonderful eternal plan. Out of the greatest evil, the death of Jesus, came the greatest good” (Peter Scazzero).

Everything which would seek to steal beauty from this world and joy from our lives is compost for the greater things to come. Every tear is a seed sown, the ground watered for greater things to come.

All the horrors of history, all the tragedies of today are nothing compared to the glory God will one day reveal. His son Jesus Christ died on the cross to make all things new.

Yes, there is suffering. Yes, there is evil. Daily, we’re bombarded with news we’d rather shut our eyes and ears to.

Yet still, there is beauty, tenacious beauty. Where there is beauty, there is hope. And if there is hope, there is reason to live.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Flowers, Nature, Flowers For – Free Image on Pixabay …

The Modern Paradox

It’s the paradox of this fame-starved generation. We’re told to hunger for world-wide significance, when all the while that banquet table is bankrupt. This isn’t Hollywood. The average person will not become famous, while those who do live under the constant scrutiny of their so-called admirers. The sooner we let go of the pursuit of self-exaltation, the sooner we’ll find contentment.

 

Photo Credit: Tablecloth – Free images on Pixabay