That is what I believe God sees and makes when He looks at us.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV
This verse is not the easiest to comprehend. You don’t have to live a considerable amount of time to experience or see that there is a massive amount of pain and suffering in this world. Is there really anything beautiful about it? But like any artist, God sees what it is and instead of leaving it the mess it is, He makes it into something beautiful that has meaning. As a counsellor I am all about the meaning!
What I have learned is that time is our best friend and our worst enemy.
A simple sentence like “in its time…” throws us straight into the unknown. Well, how much time? Even if we know how much time it is either too far away for us to wait or just not enough! I don’t think I have used the phrase “Ah, that is the perfect amount of time! Great!” And if I have, it was most certainly sarcasm! Nevertheless, whether too much or too little, we are bound by time.
What is striking about time, as we see in Ecclesiastes 3, is its usage. There is a time for everything… death, birth, mourning, rejoicing, planting, harvesting… which leads me to believe that just as there are times when life couldn’t be uglier, there are also times when it is made beautiful by the hand of God.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:6 ESV
All credit goes to God for the work He does in us but we still have a part to play. Whenever I am beginning with someone in counselling, there are essentially 5 things that I want to prepare anyone for in this process of being changed/transformed:
- Work… hard work. Hibernating doesn’t work! Although I have imagined how nice it would be to remain snuggled up in my bed as God transformed me from caterpillar to butterfly… I think God laughed when I ran that by Him!
- What surfaces. You are not always going to like what you see. That is a good thing. Be thankful that God is taking out what you don’t like seeing!
- Doubt. You may experience this often. From everywhere. Keep Bible verses close to you as reminders and encouragement.
- Loneliness. You may feel alone at times. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us. If you feel lonely and like no one cares… chances are that people really have no idea what is going on inside you (unless they have mastered mind-reading…) or they really have no idea how to show support. People get scared of what they don’t understand and sometimes deal with it the wrong way. But it is ok to ask for support (which can be specific) and encouragement from others. We weren’t placed in the body of Christ for no reason!
- Surprises. You honestly never know what will happen. People surprise you, relationships surprise you, situations change and surprise you, you surprise yourself, God moves and surprises you! It happens… seriously!