Mt. Gambier, a small town on the border between the Australian states of South Australia and Victoria, is reknown for several very large sinkholes. Most of these have been developed into beautiful gardens, and it was in the larger of these sinkhole gardens, known as Umpherston Sinkhole/Cave Garden that I learned a valuable lesson...
As we began our descent into the Umpherson Sinkhole, we found
ourselves on a shelf-like walkway, about halfway down. This little
walkway was actually invisible from the bottom and the top, for long,
heavy vines of ivy hung from the surface nearly all the way to the
bottom, completely covering the walkway. It was beautiful from the
outside; but when you were behind that wall of vegetation, and all you
saw was huge, woody vines and plenty of dead leaves, it was actually
kind of spooky...
It all made me think. When we are in the midst
of trials of various kinds, the world looks
pretty dark and dreary, and sometimes even scary. It is hard to believe
there is anything to our world other than that diagnosis, the death of
your child, the loss of your home.
But I had seen
the garden from the top. I knew that what we were seeing was certainly
not all there was to the sinkhole garden. The fact that we were on a
narrow path behind a wall of thick vines didn't change the truth that
beauty lay beyond what we could see.
It is the same with
whatever set of particular circumstances you are going through right
now. It doesn't matter how dark the path is, how ugly, how dry, how
moldy the air smells...there are better times ahead. We just can't see
As we walked this little pathway, however, we came to a
place where the vines had been cut into a window-like opening. From
here, the beautiful gardens at the bottom of the sinkhole were clearly
visible, and it was a stunning view. I found myself thanking the
gardener for creating this window in the vines.
Wouldn't it be
nice if there were a little "window" in the dark times that surround us,
something to give us hope that there is a something better waiting for
us after our time in the darkness is over?
But wait. God does
give us such a window...
His Word is packed full of stories about
dark times, not the least of which is the whole fall of mankind in the
Garden of Eden. But there is always a good ending to the stories! God
always makes a way! When we read these stories, it is like we are
looking through that window in the vines. We know that the God who
always made a way in the Bible, will do so for us today! Hasn't He
1. "I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel's
Creator and King. I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
making a dry path through the sea...But forget all that—it is nothing
compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway
through the wilderness..." (Is. 53:15-17 NLT).
"If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (Rom. 8:31 NLT).
3. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord.
'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and
a hope.'" (Jer. 29:11 NLT)?
God is our hope. His little
"window" in the vines is His promise that He will make a way. And
because He is our hope, we can be sure that there is a garden waiting
for us once we are out of the dark times.
The promise of
something better isn't all that God gives us, however. As we
walk the lonely paths of troubled times, He gives us other little
"windows" along the way.
Maybe you are just too broke to even be
able to put food on the table, but somehow you find a 50$ bill on the
ground. Who put that bill there? Whoever it was, it was directed by God,
and this is one of those little "windows" in the "vines" of trials.
Maybe you are feeling completely alone, used up, desperate, and your
puppy comes and puts his little nose under your hand and begins to lick
you, giving you love and comfort and support. It is God's nudging that
brought that puppy to you. It's one of His little "windows" to assure
you that the troubled times won't go on forever.
Maybe you are
feeling completely overrun with depression and worry and fear, and you
look out the window and notice a daffodil blooming in your yard that you
are sure wasn't there yesterday. It's one of God's little "windows" to
assure you that this "winter time" of your life won't last forever. Your
"spring" will come.
Whatever it is that is serving as your
"blanket of vines", watch for God's little blessings and hold on to the
promises of His Word. Guaranteed you will see some little "windows" to
help you know your troubles won't last forever, that God has made a way!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
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