When you think of what is beautiful, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s the majesty of creation – the vast blue oceans, the splendor of the mountains, the diversity of the green lush forests. Maybe it’s taking some quiet moments to relish the beauty displayed in artistic paintings or other pieces of artwork. When we contemplate what is beautiful in this world, the options are endless. I wonder, though, if we ever consider the beauty of our trials and suffering. Do you ever think about the fact that God is making something beautiful out of your pain and brokenness?
The trials and suffering that we encounter result from the fact that we live in a broken and sin-filled world. Consequently, we bear many wounds that make healing difficult, and we struggle to see the good or positive – the beauty – that could possibly emerge from the hurt and pain we have endured.
In his book, The Way of the Warrior, author Erwin Raphael McManus says this:
I would never discount the devastating effects of wounds not bought but given. You had no choice about where you were born or to what family you were born into. I completely understand why so many people carry not only wounds but bitterness like a noose around the neck. It is not easy to convince someone to forgive when there is no contrition from the offender. It may be one of the most difficult things in the world to let go of bitterness when it has been the only dam holding back the tears.
Taking responsibility when something is your fault makes perfect sense, but it’s a tough pill to swallow that you need to take ownership over your circumstances even when they’re not your fault. Here is the hard reality: even if it’s not your fault, it’s still your responsibility.
Though the wounding wasn’t your fault, the healing is your responsibility.
Though your past may not be your fault, your future is your responsibility.
Though their choices were not your fault, your choices are your responsibility.
Don’t let those who are at fault keep their hold on your life by relinquishing your power to change and to be set free of them. Bitterness is how your soul lets you know they still have power over you. Hatred traps the poison inside you. Only love and forgiveness allow you the power to move forward.McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Way of the Warrior: An Ancient Path to Inner Peace. Waterbook, 2019, pp.113-14.
Beauty from suffering emerges when we relinquish the hold our offenders have on our lives and choose love and forgiveness over bitterness. Beauty emerges when we take responsibility for our healing in spite of what others have done to us. Beauty emerges when we refuse to let the past dictate our future by standing in our pain and embracing our wounds with courage and faith, confident that God can transform our pain and brokenness into praise and glory.
Here is how the psalmist David expresses the transforming work of God.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. (Ps. 40:1-3)
Through the transforming grace of God, our hurt and our wounds – even our own mistakes and sins – can be transformed into something beautiful. God lifts us up out of the “miry bog” and “pit of destruction” of our wounds and sin and brokenness and past and puts a new song of praise on our lips to Him. He takes our trials and transforms them into a testimony of His grace and goodness. He takes our mess and transforms it into a message of praise that others would see the glory of God and put their trust in Him.
No matter the pain and suffering we have endured, or what we will encounter in the future, we can be certain that God will make something beautiful out of it. As Scripture attests, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Eccl. 3:11).
In God’s divine love,