The beauty of a past that has been healed is expressed in The Song of Solomon:
“My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come…” (2:10-12 ESV)
Winter symbolizes deadness. Picture the harshest environment. Gray skies of foreboding clouds set the mood. Trees are barren. Sources of water are frozen solid. The ground disappears under a blanket of white while a piercing silence dominates. You feel trapped inside, and life is scarce.
Quite the opposite is spring. Dancing sun rays dazzle across crystal blue skies. Lush green carpets of grass cushion our steps. Flowers of all colors stand to greet us while trees popping with leaves provide restful canopies of shade. Birds freely flit about singing their happy melodies, while life-giving water flows in abundance.
Before the shattered pieces of my heart--broken by a painful past--were put back together again, I had all but forgotten how to enjoy life. Days drudged on and nights were restless. The mind was forever a torturing instant replay. Smiles were a mask and true laughter was scarce. It was like being endlessly trapped in the dead of winter.
Then the rains came. A flood. Of tears, of questions, of pain (but at least there was feeling once again). With all of that came floods of God's love, His tender words (truthful answers), His healing touches.
Empty spaces popped up every where pain used to exist, and in every place that once bore the mark of shame. Canyons appeared where insecurities had ruled. Confusion set in and I didn't know what to do with all the emptiness. That's when God began to pour His life and His love into those empty places.
The rainy season seemed to last forever...
...until the first signs of life appeared.
Admittedly, it was strange to see it. True life and love were foreign and unfamiliar. It was almost hard to accept at first. Kind of like the first flower to appear amidst a patch of snow that has yet to defrost. A sigh of relief came, as the worst was over.
The more life appeared, the more winter disappeared.
Life crowded out the deadness till all was teeming with color once again! A deep breath inhaled the sweet aromas, and the warmth of the Son brought on a stretch of new-found courage and excitement. Suddenly I felt free as the birds soaring through the bright sky...and, before I could help it, I found myself singing a new song!!
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
(Psalm 40:1-3, NLT)
Love and life replace pain and shame. This is the beauty of a past that has been healed.
As that begins to happen, inevitably we begin to relate to others with compassion and love. We find ourselves offering life in the darkest of places so that others may see and be amazed, and also put their trust in Jesus. Beauty speaks. Beauty invites.
These are the areas we will move into over the next few posts.