The secret of a beautiful existence.
With the dawn of every new year, we can’t help but get excited at the thought of a new beginning. We start the new year full of hope, anticipating only good things to happen because we’re committed to doing everything right this time around. We should have an optimistic attitude towards the future, but we need to be cautious about allowing ourselves to dream about a new year filled only with joy and perfection. Our hearts are made for bliss and we live our lives in search of happiness, disregarding the reality that God alone can bring us the happiness we’re searching for. We need not allow our pursuit of happiness to replace our pursuit of God. A life is not worth living if all we’re living for is making ourselves happy. True purpose and fulfillment is not found in seeking our own happiness; it is found in knowing God and surrendering to His will for our lives. Yes, God will give us moments of happiness throughout our lives, but they are only small glimpses of our true Joy, Jesus Christ. Our hearts become shallow and our purpose goes unmet when our reason for existing is the mere pursuit of happiness. The human heart is deceitful beyond all measure and what we sometimes think will cause us happiness might be a real cause of grief and disappointment in the end. But did you know that pain and suffering can give way to beauty, a real source of joy? You see, our lives are like tapestries, carefully created by the hand of our skilled Weaver. In the beautiful pattern that’s displayed, there are both threads of gold and grey. The good times and the bad times of our lives together create the most magnificent tapestry ever seen. Only God knows what this year will bring; we might encounter moments of happiness, as well as moments of sadness. However, we can’t expect only moments of joy; pain is just as essential as happiness on life’s journey. Usually, we don’t see the beauty pain can create in our lives while being in the midst of experiencing it, but we do find new beauty after the pain has pierced our hearts. My intention is not to say that pain is good in itself or that pain will always have good consequences in our lives. What I’m trying to say is that we should start looking at pain in a different light. Pain can be used by God in a creative way for our benefit, if we choose to trust God even when it hurts. Did you know that pearls are the result of pain caused by irritation? When the shell of an oyster is invaded by a foreign object, such as a grain of sand, the healing fluids produced by the oyster cover the grain of sand in an effort to reduce the irritation that tries to destroy the delicate shell. Those healing fluids come together to create a beautiful pearl. Without the pain caused by the roughness of the sand, there would be no pearl. Pain creates depth of character. It gives way to hidden beauty, the kind of beauty that lives inside the heart, just like pearls live inside the shell of the oyster. Pain makes us humble because it helps us realize how dependent we truly are on God. Pain gives us compassionate hearts by helping us identify with someone else’s suffering. Trusting God in the midst of pain and suffering solidifies our faith and makes us stronger. Humility, compassion, faith, and strength are only a few of the beautiful pearls that pain can create in our heart. God does not like to see us suffer, but He does allow pain into our lives because he delights in giving depth to our shallow hearts. We need to look at pain with different eyes. Even Jesus suffered the excruciating pain of the beatings and the crucifixion for the joy set before Him. Our suffering is not in vain; it is carefully allowed into our lives for a purpose. As the tapestry of our lives will continue to be weaved throughout the year that has just begun, may we trust the hand of The Weaver as He skillfully creates a beautiful pattern for our lives! May we look forward to the moments of joy that await us, but may we also embrace the moments of sadness that might come our way with hearts full of faith in a God who is so worth our trust!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)