First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Beauty from ashes

August 2, 2016

    For the last 5 plus weeks we had no rain or minimal rain at best. Yards and gardens had turned crunchy from the heat and dryness. Farm fields near us looked bad. In fact, corn stalks that should be 6-7 feet tall looked like pineapple stalks rising from the dust. In the midst of this dry spell, I have mused when listening to radio announcers. Some have given weather forecasts and mentioned the hint of a shower. They followed that comment by saying, "other than that small threat, we'll have a beautiful hot sunny day." Excuse me radio announcer, WE NEED RAIN!  However, there have been a few who understand how rain is necessary so that burn bans don't get implemented and reservoirs are replenished. They have embraced the possibility of rain showers.

    Lately, we have had extended showers and much needed rain has renewed a landscape that was borderline desert-like.  Grass is starting to make a comeback. Gardens don't need daily watering. Farmer's fields look like they'll produce intended crops. Water usage restrictions are less likely to be extended.  Hopefully, the people who disdain precipitation realize how vital it is to have a balance of sun and rain. 

    The dark clouds don't always give us the best feelings when we see them. The hot sun always makes us feel better when it shines abundantly. What happens when you mix the two?

                                               (Bright rays of sun from behind a menacing cloud)

To truly appreciate what we consider the beautifully aesthetic, we have to endure the painfully ugly. These two polar opposites are mutually joined. While some folks love sun and loath rainy days, both are necessary for life and growth. In the midst of the last several days, many storms have dumped much needed rain on our region. Now, I occasionally hear people murmuring about the gray drab day ahead of us (the possibility of more rain dampens the spirit. pun intended).

        "...and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,the oil

        of gladness instead of mourning,and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)

Let's redirect our thoughts this day toward how God can use the darkest times of our lives to help us appreciate the brightest times. One cannot fully enjoy one without the other. In some cases, the painful darkness makes the bright beauty so much more attractive.

 

        "Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know

        that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3, NIV) [emphasis added]

 

 

 

 

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