The most precious stones on earth are forged in dark caverns under years of intense pressure. Still these gems require cutting, shaping to release their true beauty and become treasure forged in darkness.
I’ve always thought everything in nature has some parallel in our lives, in the spirit. So many of life’s lessons have made sense to me through the scope of that lens. From the magic of a tiger-lily in the weeds to a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Nature is our school and the Spirit our teacher. I’m always on the lookout for how to match up the world around me to what’s happening to me on the inside.
One of my favorite Bible verses opens my first novel, Ruby Moon—“He will give you the treasures of the darkness and hidden riches of secret places.” Isaiah 43:1 I’ve lived this. I know it’s true.
For years I struggled on and off with depression. Trust me; there is no darker, hopeless place to be. Depression paints everything in life gray or black. I knew what I should be thinking, but I could not make myself think it. I prayed, begged, and pleaded for help from God. He answered via various means and most of the time not in the way I expected.
During this deep cavern time, the mining began in earnest. He pic-axed through the rocky portions of my heart to unearth the gems that He knew were there. I wrote my heart out. Poems and songs came from this time–deep thoughts ringing with the echo of all I’d passed through. After, I figured life could not get any rougher. I was wrong.
My world gradually fell a part five years ago when I had a lengthy MS attack, which has left me with permanent nerve damage and on a gradual slope of decline. There were times when I felt stripped of everything, all that I knew to be me. All the gifts I had used throughout the years seeped away. I remember one day so crisply.
I sat in my favorite spot by our south-facing bay window, where I have many green and blooming plants. My head hurt with a two-month migraine, I couldn’t read, write, talk, sing, walk, watch TV, listen to or make music, or use my right arm and hand without difficulty or pain. But in this place I prayed. Me, sitting and silently, pouring my heart out to God. Gradually, my thoughts turned to worship, and my heart to peace. He was with me beyond my understanding; when I was at my least, he was at His greatest.
Since, I’ve endured various levels of pain, depression, grief, and sorrow. And you know what? I never endured alone. In those dark places, I saw God and knew that He loved me and would never leave me. He molded each tear, fear, and pain into something brighter and better. Something that sparkled when held up to the sun. I got to know the Him better, as comforter, friend, savior, and the one who sings over me in the night. And I changed.
As a Result:
My faith grew as God met me in the promises of His word. Treasure indeed. This kind of treasure cannot be corrupted, like the material items we place value on. I became more gracious, understanding, and patient with myself and others. And I hope wiser.
A most interesting thing came from that time. When all else fell away, I saw what really mattered: my relationship with God, from which everything else should flow.
My Prayer for You Today:
You would pour out your worry, fear, pain, sorrow, and grief to Someone who loves you and sees it all. See yourself as a gem—imagine your favorite—being crafted in these deep places of life. Trust that if you give whatever you’re going through to God that He will mold something precious from it, and your pain need not be in vain.
Hope for the best: knowing Him more because of your trials.
Look to Jesus.