Beauty From Pain

lower antelope canyon pic.jpgThese amazing sandstone sculptures of Antelope Canyon in Arizona are the result of powerful flash-floods that come during Monsoon season.  Over many years, these astounding canyons have been formed.  Unlike the Grand Canyon that is formed by a steady flow of water erosion, these are formed rather quickly through sudden flooding carrying debris that cuts away at the canyon violently.  The area is still susceptible to flash floods and have proven to be dangerous and unpredictable during the rainy season.

As I ponder the torrent of water relentlessly rushing through wiping out the resistance of the rock in its way, I am in awe of the results.  Having lived in the desert for close to 25 years, I’m also keenly aware that flash floods have the added danger of surprise.  One report of people drowning in this area was due not to rain from the day they were hiking the Canyon but to rain the day before that rushed down from a higher level and reached them on a seemingly calm, weather-friendly day.

Such are the attacks of the enemy of our souls.  The torrent of raging waters comes rushing in when you think all is calm; violently tearing away at your strength and stability, your very existence.  And yet, when the water subsides, we see not devastation, but beauty.  It’s as if the rock courageously stands, bearing the force of the attack, it’s very being stripped away piece by piece.  In the end, the torrent shapes it into a structure of awe and beauty.

This is how I am being shaped into the image of Christ.  Though the enemy rages, I will not be overcome but instead produce a beauty that compels others to come and see the wonder of it all.  It’s not easy nor fun to go through those torrents but knowing the beauty and wonder it creates gives me determination to stay steadfast in the midst of the rage so that I may display His glory.

Standing firm for the One True God and adhering to His Truth in this violent world isn’t “safe” but the beauty He brings forth from it, not despite the threat of the enemy’s attacks but because of it, continues to show His glorious beauty on the earth.  Both in Antelope Canyon and in me.

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”  Isaiah 61:3