Some things are so beautiful, I can’t help but stop and admire.
The other night it was the huge crescent moon hanging low, glowing harvest orange. Almost home, I drove past my driveway, in a race with time, to reach the clearing and capture it before it was gone.
Usually it’s things of nature that catch the eye and steal the breath with unnatural beauty.
Last fall, this wrought iron gate (shown above) had the same affect – caught the eye, pulled off the road, had to get closer to take it all in. Graceful curves, white aged to yellow, chipped and rusted, but to me it was awesome. What struck me most was the contrast – strong iron shaped into gentle curves. How many years had it stood here? How many storms had it endured? Strong yet so graceful. How hot was the fire that softened hard iron to form swooshes and swirls?
I see the same beauty in someone close who battled the ugliness of cancer with such grace. Keeping her eyes focused on the ultimate Grace-giver was reflected in her response to what life had handed her. Through the firestorm, her strong faith unwaivering was beautiful. Grace under pressure.
Long seasons of testing and trials are made up of small moments that define us. Like fire, they can refine making us stronger or they can consume weakening our faith.
How do we respond when in the midst of everyday fires?
to the heated moments of a stressful day?
to personal attacks on faith or political views?
to gossip that surrounds, or pain that hounds?
to words that sting and tempers that flare?
It’s in our nature to react to these pressures of fire with more fire: to be unkind when treated unkindly, to give anger when shown anger, to lash out when lashed at, to break under pressure. But what if we respond with what’s unexpected: kindness. What if we respond with what is undeserved: grace. What if our response is to find one small thing to be grateful for whatever situation we are in.
Each small moment fire is an opportunity to reflect the undeserved love and grace God has shown us. When we react to moments of pressure or a season of trials with a bit of that grace, our unexpected response could stop fire’s fury, catch the eye, and in a small way, be unexpectedly beautiful.
Grace under pressure.
Amazing grace hung on a cross so long ago – arms stretched wide, hands pierced with hateful nail, beaten body weighted with malice of a sin-filled world. Yet Jesus spoke words of love: ‘Father, forgive them.’ Ultimate grace under pressure shown by ultimate Love. That catches the eye, steals the breath, and humbles the heart.
May God use whatever fire is in our moments to make us stronger and be a reflection of his grace.
‘Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’. 2 Timothy 2:1