Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rifts that Reveal Beauty

I read something beautiful in the book "Streams in the Desert" (L.B. Cowman) this past week. It's the parable of a prairie and I thought I'd share it with you all.

"At first there were no canyons but only the vast, open prairie. One day the Master of the prairie, walking across His great grasslands, asked the prairie, 'Where are your flowers?' The prairie responded, 'Master, I have no flower seeds.'

The Master then spoke to the birds and they brought seeds of every kind of flower, scattering them far and wide. Soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses, roses, yellow buttercups, wild sunflowers and red lilies all summer long. When the Master saw the flowers, he was pleased. But He failed to see his favorites and asked the prairie, 'Where are the clematis, columbine, violets, wildflowers, ferns and flowering shrubs?' So once again he spoke to the birds, and again they brought all the seeds and spread them far and wide. But when the Master arrived, He still could not find the flowers he loved the most, and asked, 'Where are my sweetest flowers?' The prairie cried sorrowfully, 'O Master, I cannot keep the flowers. The wind sweeps fiercely across me, and the sun beats down upon my breast, and they simply wither up and blow away.'

Then the Master spoke to the lightning, and with one swift bolt, the lightning split the prairie through its heart. The prairie reeled and groaned in agony and for many days bitterly complained about its dark, jagged, and gaping wound. But the river poured its water through the chasm, bringing rich, dark soil with it.

Once again the birds brought seeds and scattered them in the canyon. After a long time the rough rocks were adorned with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the secluded cliffs were draped with clematis and columbine. Giant elms raised their huge limbs high into the sunlight, while at their feet small cedars and balsam enhair ferns grew and bloomed, until the canyon became the Master's favorite place for rest, peace and joy."

I feel like that prairie. My prairie looked lovely on the outside...nice and flat...with rolling grasslands and wildflowers. But it was nicely laid out with expectations I had built up, with things I was sure would happen and with the plans that I had. I even justified my expectations thinking that they were God's plan for me or making them seem like they were something I deserved for living a pure and right life. But the Master of my prairie needed to send his lightning into my life in order to disrupt those expectations.

The rift hurts like a gaping wound and my smooth flat world is disrupted. But the Master of my life knows what He is doing. He wants me to build up my expectations based on who He is and what He's done for me. It has nothing to do with something I'm doing right or not right. It has nothing to do with my efforts and everything to do with Him.

So, he has created a rift in my life but that rift will fill with life and become a beautiful canyon where the flowers of patience, kindness and gentleness can grow in my life. The Master can have His way in that canyon and the pain and sorrow will become a source of joy.

So, thank you Master of my prairie and maker of my canyon. Thank you for removing that which is not of You and creating something beautiful with my life. I know that even your lightning bolts bring life to me.

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