Glory in the dark

clouds

Sometimes, God puts you in a place where you have no choice but to stop and rest. Sometimes, you may not understand why it is happening, but you need to trust in God’s purpose anyway. Sometimes, things won’t make sense until you are out the other side.

red skies

Having spent the last 6 days in bed, due to an illness which decided to overtake me on the very last day of term, I have had more than enough time to think. I have not, however, been in the best state of mind, and whilst some may have taken the opportunity to seek God’s purpose in this, I have to admit I have been slightly resentful of my position. Having worked hard all term, even completing next term’s programs prior to the holidays with my team, I couldn’t understand why God would allow me to be so sick that I couldn’t even begin to enjoy my holidays.

The question is now I suppose, what has God been trying to teach me through this? While the days have wasted away from one into the next, I have realised how precious time is, and how easily it can be taken for granted. Almost half my holidays has now diminished and I have nothing to show for it. Or do I?

I have had a particular passage crop up numerous times (from various sources) over the last few weeks. I feel now, God was almost forcing me to reflect on it, in order to bring enlightenment and understanding to my situation.

Exodus 33:21-23 (New King James Version) speaks of God’s response to Moses’ request to see His glory:

21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

God put Moses in the cleft of the rock and covered him so he would be able to survive His glory. A cleft. A dark, hard place. How many times has God put you in a dark, hard place? Is it in those times that you may have had a glimpse of God’s light and presence? Whilst I may not have had a blinding flash of God’s glory this past week, I did feel the still, small voice of a mighty Saviour reminding me to be thankful, even though I did not feel that way.

Sometimes His glory cannot be seen until He has passed by, despite the fact that he was closest when it was darkest.

My blessings in this dark place? A home, a loving husband to cook me soup, children who have tried their best to look after me, a mum who travelled to care for me (and the kids) so I could rest, a loving cat who hasn’t left my side, birds singing in the trees outside, herbal teas and natural remedies, hot water, prayerful friends, hope… hope that in time, I will grow healthy again.

soup bond

It’s funny how much light creeps in when you let it.

When I begin to focus on what is outside of the cleft (God), not what is inside of it (me), suddenly everything seems a little bit brighter.

clouds

As a flower

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Spring has sprung beautifully and I was blessed enough to experience the flower markets early this morning with a very special friend from work. Teachers really do benefit from the support and understanding of those around them, and sometimes you are lucky enough to stumble across the path of a soul mate who understands what you go through and is always there to lift you up when you feel down. When I think about a life journey though, I believe luck has very little to do with the people who happen to cross our path. Some friendships are predestined by God for a purpose, and it is more than just a bit special to experience that in a workplace situation. My special friend knew that a trip to the flower markets would be a blessing to me and it impacted me more than I could have imagined.

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The vibrant colour and aromas were heavenly. To see so much natural beauty standing out in an ordinary warehouse was almost overwhelming. People were rushing to and fro swiftly selecting bouquets, and the market sellers were busy calling out prices and exchanging money. There was an indescribable buzz in the air, and had we not had breakfast booked, we probably would have stayed there for hours.

Considering the little amount of money I parted with, I managed to come home with a beautiful range of flowers; tulips, sunflowers, roses and daffodils, some of which were for family and some just for me. The colours and form of God’s intricate handiwork is so beautiful to behold. To think, He dressed all those flowers with colours of His choosing, to reflect the beauty of His majesty. He painted the fields with flowers for Adam and Eve in the very first garden and, despite the fall, we can still see His love embodied in nature today.

The Bible reminds us of the fragility of both flowers and human life in many passages, including Psalm 103:15-16 (NKJV),

“As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.

Our lives are short. We have a limited time to fulfil our purpose and I can only hope and pray to exhibit the beauty of one of God’s flowers in my service to Him. Flowers bring colour and life to people. They are used to celebrate marriage, and to bring comfort to those at funerals. They create joy as a gift to those who receive them and help bring healing to those who are ill. Who would not want to give what a flower can to those around them?

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As teachers, the children in our care need to see all the colour and fragrance that a flower holds in our interactions with them. They need us also to nurture them and help them flourish into the people they will one day grow into. We need to teach them to become like flowers that bring comfort, joy and love to those around them. They need to realise that they are capable of bringing colour into the lives of those who cross their path. While Psalm 103 reminds us that our lives are short and fragile like that of a flower, it also reminds us of the significance and purpose that the flower holds. We can bring colour, we can bring hope, we can bring joy. We can flourish by reflecting God’s majesty in our dealings with others, if we allow ourselves to be watered by His Word and His presence.

As Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV) states,

“The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”

Let us never forget the impact we can have in the time we are given.

As a flower flourishes in its time, let us too be a blessing and let our colours shine through as we serve our Creator in love.

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