Several days ago I was sitting in my living room and the world outside was transformed.
It literally was transformed by these amazing hues of gold and orange. It was nearly time for the sun to set, yet there was a bright glow washing in my windows.
If you have ever experienced the sudden shift in how the sky looks right before a nasty line of thunderstorms rolls though the south then you will understand.
The sky takes on a hint of ominous color to it, almost like a small visual glimpse into what is about to happen. The smell in the air is even a bit different.
Well given the fact that over the last several days we had been experiencing some very volatile weather, the night before as I lay in my bed waiting for my bedroom window to simply be blown of there casings, I was a bit concerned as I stood in my living room and watched the world outside shift into this amazing and strange color.
I stepped outside and the humidity was thick and the golden color was washing over everything. There in the expanse before me was a brilliant and nearly complete rainbow. I could see nearly the complete circle, but what was even more amazing is that just outside of the vivid and shining rainbow was a second slightly less visible rainbow.
(if you look closely you can see the second outer rainbow, it was much easier to see with the naked eye than in this photo)
It was still sprinkling from the sudden downpour but I ignored the intermittent spattering and just stood and took in this awesome gift. I went from the back yard to the front and from the front it looked as if the rainbow came down and made its home at the end of my street.
With the late hour it felt as if the sun was straining to remain above the horizon for as long as it could just so I could stand in God’s glory for as long as possible.
The sun eventually set and the rainbow faded and the amazing golden hue slowly turned into night, and it was over.
With each day that has past since this double blessing I have thought about how God orchestrates things. There is a delicate balance to all His creation.
Rainbows only happen after a storm.
If I had been lazy and disobedient (and stayed in front of the television) I would have missed the blessing completely.
I can not help but think of all the storms that have passed through my life. I can gratefully say that much of the turbulent weather that I have experienced have resulted in magnificent rainbows.
I can see God’s might hand and praise Him for how He has worked in my life. The transformation that has taken place in my life is a true testament to His ability to prune away all the sin and unproductive branches in my life.
The violent storm that kept us awake into the wee hours the other night light up the sky with so many flashes of lightening it looked as if it were the middle of the afternoon. My windows rattled, our walls shook, it felt like we were in the middle of an explosion the storm was so violent.
The next morning as I tentatively stepped outside to survey my surroundings. I noticed the neighbors pulling a very large tree branch across their yard. It seems that while the lightning was illuminating the skies it was also striking down a tree on our neighbor property. Thankfully it was a small tree and there was no damage to their home.
However as I drove by the tree this morning I noticed that all that remains is a short jutting stub out of the ground. All the branches have been removed (by force) and cut away and hauled off to be disposed of.
All that remains is a sad reminder of the beautiful tree that once was there. The homeowner must not be in possession of a chain saw because as I inspected the stump I notice that it had been jaggedly hacked away at by a small hand held hatchet exposing the interior of the trunk to the world like an open wound.
There have been so many times in my life when I have felt exactly the same way. That visual image of this poor stump with all the jagged hacked up exposed wounds, standing unprotected from the elements, having everything violently ripped away, well this has been a very realistic metaphor for how I have felt at various times in my life.
What I do know for sure is that when God prunes away at your life it is always sharp and decisive. He never leaves rough jagged edges that will be in danger of not healing. His precise pruning is always done at exactly the right moment with precision because He knows where to make the perfect cut to bring about the bountiful harvest.
In my quiet time (“Streams in the Desert”, for July 3) this morning I came across several passages from the Old Testament that showed this to me in a beautiful way.
The writer gives a description of a beautiful meadow with lush green grass and a picturesque setting of cows resting in the shade and birds frolicking in the brightly colored flowers. He stopped for a moment to just drink in the beauty before him.
The very next day as he was passing by this same field there had been a dramatic transformation. A farmer with a large tractor was sitting idle in that very same meadow, the beautiful setting of the day before had been plowed under. There was nothing but bare dark furrows of up turned soil. As he looked at the barrenness before him we was grieved. He had expected beauty yet his eyes beheld nothing but upturned dirt. As he surveyed this unpleasant sight before him he had a transforming moment. Instead of the empty furrows before him, he had a glimpse of the bountiful harvest that was to come from this brutal upheaval.
I just love how God works!
Listen to what He has to say:
ISA 28:23 Listen and hear my voice;
pay attention and hear what I say.
ISA 28:24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?
ISA 28:25 When he has leveled the surface,
does he not sow caraway and scatter cummin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,
barley in its plot,
and spelt in its field?
ISA 28:26 His God instructs him
and teaches him the right way.
ISA 28:27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
and cummin with a stick.
ISA 28:28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
so one does not go on threshing it forever.
Though he drives the wheels of his threshing cart over it,
his horses do not grind it.
ISA 28:29 All this also comes from the LORD Almighty,
wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.
If God has plowed you field flat and upturned the soil in your life, there is purpose in the upheaval.
There is always purpose in all that God does, I must continue to wait patiently for that bountiful harvest, it will come.
Why should I be frightened and surprised by the plow of the Lord, which makes deep furrows in my soul? I know He is not some arbitrary or irrational farmer - His purpose is to yield a harvest.