For this week’s Worship Wednesday, Muriel shares how God makes beautiful things in her story of how he redeemed Fort Bragg for her.
God Makes Beautiful Things
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
I had put Fayetteville in a box. It was stored on a high shelf out of sight and out of mind. I had decorated it with a few carefully chosen photographs of curated happy moments. Oh, the beautiful gift of pictures! It gives us that frozen moment in time when everything was just so. I had not opened that box in 17 years.
What good can come out of painful memories and great trials?
Fort Bragg was our first duty station. Our daughter was a two-month-old baby when we moved there. Both our sons were born there. It was the genesis of our story. The beginning of what was to come. Fayetteville was the backdrop of the first seven years of our married life. There were good moments, but the good did not outweigh the bad. Dreams died, and hope faded.
Can bountiful life spring from the dry ground?
I had intentionally stored away those seven years. I pressed forward, pretending that it was just a false start, a trial run. Fayetteville did not have a place in the fairy-tale dream of how I pictured my life to be.
I was baptized in Fayetteville. Fort Bragg also marks the genesis of my Christian walk. Bible studies, serving in the children department, taught me the stories of the Bible and unbeknownst to me, God was writing his message of love and redemption through my story. In due time, he would reveal this to me.
Our Planting Roots conference last year was in Fayetteville, NC. I was actually looking forward to going back there. It had been 17 years, and the box was covered with dust. Those memories had long been forgotten.
Or were they?
The drive from Raleigh to Fayetteville was beautiful, yet my heart was suddenly flooded with emotions. Ever so gently, God was dusting off the box and encouraging me to open it. I fought it at first. But brick by brick, God broke down the wall I had built around my heart. He slowly revealed himself one painful memory after another. He had always been there and he had a purpose.
As I let the tears flow down my cheek, I felt the power of redemption. Yes, good can come out of painful memories. Yes, a beautiful garden can be grown on dry soil. In that sacred moment, I could hear his gentle voice. He was calling me to let it all go.
Open your hands, child, open your heart. Let it all go that I may pour my strength and my love into you.
The car became my altar, and right then and there, I made a sacrifice of praise. I was weary and he lifted me up. I was broken, and he mended me. Joy and sorrow are fellow sojourners on this life journey. Through this process, I was able to link one affliction to a joy. Hard times have a purpose. Trials and pain help us grow closer to God.
The best way to feel God and be filled with his love is to empty ourselves.
Fayetteville is once again in my rearview mirror, but the box is open. The trials and pains are laid bare, ready for God to make beautiful things out of them.
My hope and prayer are that this song ministers to you as much as it does to me. Yes, God makes beautiful things out of dust. I encourage you to give Him all your pains and hurts. All your sorrows and joy. Sit back and watch the miracle unfold.
By Muriel Gregory
Listen to Beautiful Things by Gungor and then share with us how God has made things beautiful in your life!