My friend Sara and Naghmeh remind me of Sequoia trees. Sara had a baby girl, Grace, die in her womb at 30 weeks from a heart defect. She gave birth to her little girl and never got to see her first smile, first dance or any other first. Sara loves Jesus with everything she has, and from this awful experience in their life the Lord has magnified Himself. (You can see how on her blog.)
Naghmeh is Pastor Saeed's wife. I heard an interview of her talking about what happened and is currently happening with her husband. This awful experience of her husband being in prison for his faith, leaving her to raise her two young children alone, is allowing incredible beauty to be shown.
So trees. You may be wondering what Sara and Naghmeh have in common with trees. Well, did you know the Jack Pine has resin-filled cones. It's like they are glued shut until fire melts the resin and allows the cone to pop open and release the seeds. And not only the Jack Pine, but also the Redwood or Sequoia. These amazingly beautiful trees grow to nearly 300 feet tall. As I was imagining and talking about this with my kids, we looked up at the beautiful, big tree in our back yard that is 50 feet high. Then imagined five more it's size on top of it. That is huge! Their cones contain up to 200 seeds which can take up to two years to mature. Then the little seeds sit in the cone and wait for fire.
Fire is so often seen as a bad thing. But fire is the way the forest is continually regenerated. It consumes dead, decaying vegetation and clears the way for new growth. And when fires are continually suppressed it can be dangerous. And the only way these trees could have a reliance on fire is if God designed them that way from the beginning. Which shows He designed these trees before the fall with their unseen beauty unless there was fire.
God is not taken off guard by destruction, pain and sorrow. He knew sin would enter the picture and made provision for beauty to come from it years and years and years beforehand. God allows awful to happen not to show how strong we are, but to show how incredible He is. If there was never sin, there would be no need of the cross. There would be no way for God's forgiving, redeeming, restoring nature to be seen. Everything the Lord allows to happen is for the purpose of showing the world what He is like, a grand, ultimate-can't get better than that purpose.
Fire has come into Sara and Naghmeh's life but it has produced the beauty of a Sequoia tree, a beauty only seen because of the painful trial. God's character and heart is made known to the many around them because of what these precious ladies have and are going through. Though we and those around us will have suffering in this life, we can be encouraged because it is not for nothing. There is beauty that will come from it and a part of God's character revealed that otherwise wouldn't be. These ladies are revealing the character of God is ways not many get to.
"...Now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith-more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has four kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 11 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks to college and women's groups. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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