God’s Special Knack
Every year at Easter the church I am currently serving includes “the flowering of the cross” as part of their morning service. For those of you who have never seen this done, here’s how it works. A rough wooden cross covered with chicken wire is brought into the sanctuary. At a certain point in the service, while our accompanists play, everyone comes forward and places fresh flowers on the cross. In a short period of time something quite ugly is transformed into an object of great beauty. This mirrors in a wonderful way what God did with the horrible cross on that first Easter Sunday; he made something beautiful out of it.
This year I used the flowering of the cross to teach the children in the church about God’s amazing ability to take bad situations and turn them around into something good. I happen to believe that is God’s special knack. I have seen it happen time and time again in my own life, as well as in the lives of others. I guess that’s why Romans 8:28 is one of my favorites Bible verses: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It is God’s knack for bringing good out of bad situations that fills my life with hope and enables me to move forward when things are not going well.
The same transforming power that we see at the empty tomb and in our own lives may also be witnessed in Creation. It appears obvious to me that even in nature God is at work bringing about good in bad situations. Sometimes horrible things happen to God’s Creation. At times nature, not unlike humans, inflicts harm upon itself. Tornadoes, floods, avalanches, earthquakes, lightning and hurricanes can cause vast damage to the natural world (not to mention the human world). At other times humans are the ones inflicting the harm. We have devised all kinds of ways of destroying mountains, forests, rivers and streams, and the air itself. Still, somehow, someway, the earth has survived and continues to sustain us.
I believe this is true because God, in His role as Creator, continues to bring good out of bad situations. When it comes to the natural world He has a way of bringing good out of forest fires. He has a way of bringing good out of floods. He has a way of bringing good out of everything. This good may not be obvious to all, nor may it be seen right away, but God’s special knack for bringing about good in bad situations is just as obvious in nature as it is in other parts of our life.
Having said that I hasten to add that God’s ability to do this does not give us a free pass to treat the earth any way we please. It doesn’t work that way. One of our primary callings as His children is to be caretakers of the earth. In fact, we are all called to assist Him in bringing about good from bad situations. Next Sunday is Earth Day. Now would be the perfect time to look for opportunities where you can assist God in bringing about good in a bad situation. There are lots of possibilities; just look around you. Plan this week to join God in bringing about good in a bad situation. He’ll be glad you did and so will the rest of us!
(The top two pictures show before and after “the flowering of the cross” last Sunday. The spring foliage image displays how nature has revived an area in Kentucky once mined. The bottom image shows how coastal storms have shaped and formed Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park.)