In March or April if you drive along the Kansas Turnpike you will most likely see the Flint Hills on fire. Thousands of acres are often lit creating a smoke filled landscape during the day and an eerie red light at night. At nighttime it almost feels like you are driving through the depths of hell. The blazing fires are controlled burns to improve the health of fields and prevent unwanted growth. The ashes provide extra nitrate to the soil. When the fire dissipates everything is dead creating a sullen, black landscape.
Amazingly within a few weeks the same area transforms into a beautiful living, breathing sanctuary of green fields. The new brightness of the plants covering the landscape speaks to the spirit of God that is in all creation. A spirit that boldly, says the divine is present and here with us. A spirit asking us to be cocreators in this world ensuring that nature is taken care of. The act is also a reminder of how through death new life is waiting to vivaciously spring forth.
Sometimes it this through the fires of our life where we find new life. It hurts. It's painful. It changes us. But the new creation that emerges is bold and beautiful living with a new understanding of the preciousness of life.
What fires have you been through and how did it impact your faith? Are there obstacles we are avoiding because we fear what we do not know? Our faith is a part of us and is affected by what we encounter and live through. So what role does faith have during these life experiences? Let's explore this further.
Trials and tribulations are scary. We often fear certain events and avoid moving forward. Unexpected situations devastate us, and can tear us a part. However when we walk through the adverse situations of life somehow we emerge stronger, better, and more capable then we ever have been before. Adversity make us grow as people and makes us seek something greater outside of ourselves. It is through these acts that hope emerges. Faith develops and goes deeper as we seek and find understanding for the events that transpired. It is in faith and understanding where we develop hope for the future. Hope for ourselves, hope for others, and hope for life in general.
The video below is Nick Vujicic who was born without arms and legs speaking at Telford State Prison about his life and the hope we can have through the difficulties of life. Nick travels around the world speaking and inspiring individuals. This video is quite long but if you have time to watch some of it I am sure you will be amazed and find the message of hope emerging through him.
Refining Ourselves Through Adversity
Refining usually refers to separating the impurities out and purifying the substance. But something has to be placed or go willingly through the fires to be refined. Adversity also refines us. However often when adversity strikes it is hard to stay positive. Staying hopeful in the midst of adversity is a skill. You can check out the article "How to Stay Hopeful and Resilient Through Adversity" by Joe Wilner for some ideas. The article "Refine Your Life" talks about the life cycle and how growth and development are cyclical. It gives some great ideas on how to figure out where you are in the cycle. One important aspect I want to draw attention to is reframing obstacles. The article indicates we need to ask these questions.
1. What can I learn from this?
2. Where else in my life is the same obstacle showing up, and how has it served me?
3. What can I do to address it?
4. Where is my opportunity to stretch?
5. Am I ready to let this obstacle go?
Asking these questions changes your perspective to be focused on development and life balance. Too often we feel powerless with adversity but we actually have a lot of choice in how we respond. Faithfully responding to adversity by choosing to seek positive growth is powerful. This does not mean we cannot feel dejected, hurt, etc. These are important feelings that should be acknowledged and felt. They are part of the process but at some point we must choose to reframe our thinking. We must choose to overcome our adversity.
Whatever you are walking through know there is hope. New life is waiting to vivaciously spring forward in you its just a matter of time. Go through the process at your own pace, reframe your perspective, ask the questions that matter to you and move forward. Allow the divine to guide you and may you find faith in the process.
Thank you for all those that follow along each week! We appreciate all the positive feedback and support.
This week ask the questions above about a situation you are facing?
Craig Hidy like the majority of ministers in Community of Christ is a bi-vocational, self sustaining ordained minister. He is a member of the Midlands Mission Center Emporia Team and an ordained Seventy. He and his family, live in Topeka, Kansas.
The mission of the Seventy
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” Luke 10:1-3 NRSV
What is a Seventy?
The Seventy carry out missionary work for the church in close association with other missionary leaders. They represent Christ primarily as ministers of evangelism through witnessing, inviting, and church planting.
They especially proclaim and promote Jesus Christ’s invitation to faithful discipleship through vibrant witness, and train individuals and congregations in witness and invitation.
They particularly minister with seekers, individually and in groups, to share the gospel in relevant ways and to invite response.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.
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