Last Tuesday, in “CATHEDRALS! Part 4”, we learned from the towns of Mediano and Janovas in Northern Spain that when our advice and help is requested, we must be there for those requesting it; but when it is not, the only way we can truly be supportive is to respect their wishes.
But wait. When we see that those we wish to support are making the wrong decisions and taking the wrong paths, when we see that withholding our advice and help may result in disaster, how can we, as loving, caring parents and friends, simply sit back and do nothing?
We can’t, and God used the “cathedrals” at “La Playa de las Catedrais” to help me understand what it is that we not only can do, but we must do…
La Playa de Las Catedrais is a beautiful beach near Ribadeo, Spain. Directly translated, the Spanish words mean “Cathedrals Beach”, and when you walk on the sand at low tide, it becomes quite apparent how this section of coastline got its name. The cliffs, some over 32 meters high, have, through the ages, been sculpted by wind and sea, forming spectacular arches, vaults, cracks, tunnels and galleries of rock. To make it even more special, from the sands of this beach, you can look out over the water in the mornings and evenings to watch remarkable sunrises and breathtaking sunsets.
Although all the rock formations are formidably beautiful, there are a couple in particular, that if caught at the right angle and in the right light, make you forget you are on a beach. In fact, were it not for the bare feet and rolled up pants, you would feel like you are standing in a spectacular cathedral.
We had admired so many grand cathedrals throughout Northern Spain, photographing and appreciating each for its unique architecture and decor; but as we stood at low tide that morning, in perhaps one of the most magnificent works of architecture we had ever seen, we realized something vitally important: God is the greatest architect!
With that thought came yet another: God doesn’t need suspended models such as were used in the construction of the Sagrada Familia; He doesn’t use the cranes, buttresses or molded decor so commonly seen supporting European structures; He doesn’t worry about funding, and the threats of fire, flood and wind don’t faze Him in the least. In fact, He uses the wind and the waves as tools in His hands; and in the end, His structures stand, as a lasting reminder, that where man fails, God…is!
Friends, when our offers of advice and assistance are rejected; when we are forced to stand by and look on while those we care about make the wrong choices; when any assistance on our part will only break the fragile connection that hopefully still remains between us, remember La Playa de Las Catedrais. Just as God uses the wind and water to expertly sculpt the beautiful arches and vaults found along this beach, He uses the “wind” of our poor choices and the “water” of our circumstances to form us into something of even more beauty and higher value: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” (Eccl. 3:11 NLT); “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Rom. 8:28 NLT).
What, then, can we do when our assistance is rejected?
We can release the situation into the hands of the Master Architect. We can trust that the same creative hand that uses the wind and waves to sculpt something of formidable beauty along the beach at Ribadeo, will also mold something of great value out of the circumstances and bad decisions made by those we care about. The most important thing we can do to support our loved ones through the hard times is to release them into God’s hands.
Wait. We are fixers. Letting go and letting God is not always easy. Isn’t there anything we can do?
Yes, there is. We can pray. Prayer is like the machinery that opens the sluice gates on the locks so that the water can raise the ships. Prayer is like the electrician who repairs the broken power lines so that electricity can flow into homes and provide power and light and heat. Prayer is like us pulling the trigger on the gas pump so that gas will flow into and power our vehicles. Prayer is what unleashes God’s creative power to change the situations we can do nothing about.
So just what does it look like to be supportive?
It is being there for someone, providing advice and assistance when it is requested, and it is knowing how and when to let go. But most importantly, it is releasing the situations that we cannot change into the hands of God, the Master Architect, and then praying His creative power into those situations.
But what if we release the situation into God’s hands, what if we commit ourselves to prayer, and…nothing changes? Isn’t there anything else we can do?
Join us Saturday for the conclusion of this series: “CATHEDRALS! Part 6: Die Schlosskirche”.
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 newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Cathedrals! Lessons on Being Supportive” mini-series, Click here.)