Last night the winds changed, and a terrible fire in Washington State sent its haze into our lovely valley. Heavy, choking smoke that's bringing air quality warnings to the whole valley. Those who, like me, have respiratory issues are cautioned to stay indoors if at all possible. There go our plans for a beach picnic!
Ugh. Where we usually see mountains, forests, trees, farms, and family homes, today we see gray. Dull, depressing gray. The view is obliterated, and my spirits sag as I struggle to breathe, even indoors.
But a few hours ago, as I looked yet again out the window, hoping for a change, I realized something. This obscured panorama could be an object lesson for my life, my own atmosphere.
Because, as you know, bad things happen. Sickness hits. Depression slinks in and wants to stay. Loss occurs, and grief consumes. At those times, what usually fills my vision is dull gray, just like the haze outside.
But here’s the Spirit’s sweet promise: The beauty of the life God gave me remains, even when it’s hidden by trials. And He is there in the darkest, smokiest environment. He patiently and lovingly leads me through until I can once again see the beauty that’s been waiting.
The LORD will… 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.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)