While walking past a car the other day, I thought I saw a serene country scene, sort of resting on the dashboard. As I approached, eagerly straining to see the landscape that had been so wonderfully captured in this photograph, I realized it wasn’t a picture at all, but the rear-view mirror on the other side of the car. I was simply seeing a snippet of what was behind me.
What was the difference? Cropping. The mirror had so cunningly cut out all of the houses, power lines, and any other bits of city life that were so obviously surrounding me. It’s quite astounding to think about what a little cropping can do for perspective.
I recently was not diagnosed with any particular condition, concerning some strange muscle problems, and all I could do was feel frustration, anger, and the unknown, looming over my weary body. My aching and burning muscles seemed to scream in desperation for something, anything... to put a name to their pains; all to no avail. No answers... yet.
That day had been filled with multitudes of tears and complete anguish. All I wanted was to have a solution to my problem, and what the doctor did say brought more frustration than anything: the one thing she hypothesized, has no fix. Again--anguish, desperation, grieving to the nth degree. Tears were overflowing, spilling down into my brand new blue pashmina, and visible, physical sobbing took place while I drove home.
Now I think back to that cropped “picture” of my surroundings. What a work of art. And if we really look into our own situations in life, whatever they may be, I bet we could find little masterpieces all around, surrounding us, waiting to be discovered and reveled in. God, our most loving and sovereign Creator, has hidden clues to His greatness all around us. He has given us little puzzles to piece together throughout the span of our lives, whether they are around us physically, or maybe somehow the pieces have been woven throughout the fabric of our very lives, traversing the many days and months and years that number us.
I feel so very blessed to know that the many blood tests I did go through came back normal and not problematic. I really couldn’t see that at the very moment of the great revealing; that these results meant great things, marvelous things. I don’t need a kidney transplant, I don’t have chronic blood disorders, I have normally functioning organs, praise God!
So whatever situation arises in our lives, whether they are small, or seem to be larger than anything this side of the atmosphere, remember to take out your tools and start looking for snippets to crop and frame. Those are the elements in life to remember. Those are the pieces that will always glorify God, that will cause a smile to form upon His fatherly face. It’s a glorious thing when your child is able to look outwardly, from a broken inward situation, and see the proverbial silver lining. And how much greater is it when that person uses this gift--this cropped portrait from within the larger, possibly uglier picture--and gifts it to someone else. A glimmer of faith arises, a soul is reborn. Finding God in common situations is beautiful. Finding God in difficult ones, a miracle.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
“It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:6-18