Friday, April 22, 2011

"Sad Place, Beautiful Place"

One of the most beautiful places in our city is found in an old cemetery.
A canopy of ancient oak, elm and cedar trees shade the grounds, which are surrounded by an ornate stone and wrought iron fence. A gentle breeze always seems to whisper amid the tombstones, and on clear days, the trees filter the sun in such a way that light and shadow unite to provide a display that no human artist could duplicate.
I find it intriguing that such a lovely place could serve as a venue most often thought of in terms of loss and sadness. Every grave and tombstone in Springhill Cemetery speaks of tears shed, of sorrow known, and of farewells that often broke the hearts of those bidding loved ones goodbye. How can beauty be found and experienced in such a place?
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ possess somewhat of an answer. We think of a tomb, His tomb, in terms of pain, loss and sadness that certainly grieve our hearts. However, we also know that the beauty of the Lord our God is upon us because and only because our Savior was laid in such a mournful place. Apart from His death, there would have been no resurrection, no ascension into the heavenlies as the crucified but risen Christ, and no sending of the Holy Spirit to lead us to salvation. "Without the shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). The Lord Jesus had to die if ever we were to truly live. The light and shadow of Heaven thus reveal His tomb as a place of beauty despite our sorrow that Christ had to suffer so much to save us from our sins.
In similar fashion, the tombs of our lives often reveal the greatest beauty of our lives. When God allows or determines loss, sadness and pain, He does so for redemptive purposes that glorify the Lord Jesus and benefit us. In countless ways, believers "die daily" as the Holy Spirit orchestrates crosses that lead to resurrections (I Corinthians 15:31). We may not immediately see or experience beauty in our losses, but as we trust and submit unto God, we know that in time to come, we will. Our faith began in such a place, where only sad darkness should seem to to be found. Beauty nevertheless graced that unexpected venue of loveliness, blessed with the light of the Son.
"The light shineth in darkness."
(John 1:5)

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