This week we’ve begun getting ready for fall. A final trim for the hedge, cleaning up the garden beds, harvesting the last of the tomatoes and tackling one of the two full-sized apple trees (I’m still sore from that one – Tree #2 will have to wait). I’ve noticed, though, that every day gives us opportunity to learn from and about the Lord… even in the midst of ugliness.
We saw ugliness in Las Vegas and we see different forms of ugliness all around the world, but having a walk with God allows us to – if not to make sense of it – at least anchor ourselves in the swirling sea of emotions and questions that accompany it.
Las Vegas and Les Trois Moutiers
I drove through the small village of Les Trois Moutiers when the lavoir caught my attention.
I pulled in and parked in front of this lovely photo (more like a mini billboard) of the village church and lavoir, the center of town.
As I got closer, however, I noticed that it wasn’t a single photo at all. Rather, it was a composite of several thousand photos of individuals’ faces (see the LEFT side of the picture above for detail). Literally, these thousands of people made up the heart of the community.
It had already spoken to me at the time, but events in Las Vegas further drove home the truth of that message. People are at the heart of the community, but if Jesus isn’t in the heart of the people, there’s a big hole… something’s missing, and that emptiness can quickly & easily spill over into whoever happens to be nearby… including the innocent.
“Lord, let us bring you into the emptiness that surrounds us every day. Even if that emptiness hides behind multiple houses, a full bank account and the air of success.”
For now, we just happen to be doing that in France and you’re doing it in the community from where you’re reading this post. If you name the name of Christ, then that’s our daily challenge, our calling: The mission field can be much closer than we think.
Beauty from Ugly
My second “life lesson” from this week came in the form of an unexpected resident in our yard.
I didn’t plant it and had never seen it before, but this week I noticed a hardy cyclamen growing in the lawn. It’s a typical fall flower.
…pretty little thing isn’t it?
It doesn’t start “pretty” however. The cyclamen has a rather unattractive tuber (Note that the one shown is nice-looking… when dormant they’re dried up and shriveled… even uglier).
When we only see tuber, there is nothing to attract us. But if we wait for the right season … something beautiful emerges out of that ugly tuber; a dainty little patch of several blossoms.
Time and again scripture offers us glimpses of people who were very human, far from perfect, and who went through “ugly seasons” of their life. Remaining faithful to and trusting God, through the ugliness however, allowed them store up experience that led to something beautiful on the other side – Joseph (Gen 37-39), Ruth & Naomi (book of Ruth), Paul (book of Acts), Peter (book of Acts).
- Are you in an ugly season right now? … hold onto faith!
- Do you know someone going through an ugly season? … help them hold on to Christ.
When the season changes… something beautiful will emerge from the ugliness if we’re walking with the Lord.
Know anyone going on AYC?
This week the UPCI’S Youth Ministries dept. opened up online applications for the 2018 AYC (Apostolic Youth Corps) mission trips – 17 destinations around the world.
If you’re reading this and have never done a missions trip… you owe it to yourself to do it at least once… pray about it for 2018.
If you know someone who’s planning to take part in an #AYC2018 trip… support them – prayerfully, morally and financially. You can make a difference in many lives!
Short-Term Missions Success can help you / them experience long-term personal growth out of this missions experience. You can purchase it from Amazon.com or from Pentecostal Publishing House. Purchases of the book also support out ongoing missions service in France.
… for spending time with me this morning. God bless you and help you to find beauty… even in any ugly that the week may have in store.