sky

Promise

the promise is worth the rain

Yesterday, it rained. All day.

My husband and I made use of the rainy weather by staying inside and cleaning up our home. Later in the day, I faced the rain and went out to Starbucks for some quiet time and reading. (By the way, I tried a pumpkin chai tea latte as suggested by the barista and it was delicious!) I decided not to take my laptop, which I usually never go to Starbucks without, and simply brought my bible and favorite book: Beauty Will Save the World by Brian Zahnd. In chapter 2, “The Greatest Wonder of All,” he shares a glorious moment he had atop a mountain. As he took a moment to breathe and bask in the beauty that surrounded him, a deer came alongside him and his antlers formed a perfect frame to the sunset. It was a moment of glorious wonder that he said he will never forget.

As I read the story, I could only image how beautiful that sight must have been. My imagination ran wild as I tried to place myself in his viewpoint, visualizing a mountaintop sunset framed by brown antlers. What a sight that must have been. After I finished reading, I headed home and noticed that there was a festival going on in my city. A large ferris wheel was going round and round and the tents covered the street to keep the goods dry. Amidst the rain, the contrast of flashing lights from the fair rides was an interesting contrast to behold. Is this my “wonder moment”? I thought. I parked alongside the festival gate and snapped a few photos of the scene with my iPhone. I used various filters on Instagram to enhance the shots, but didn’t care for the mood that was captured.

I continued home and prepared to go out again to the grocery store with my family. After about an hour and lots of team work, my husband and I completed our shopping trip and headed outside. As we looked into the sky, we were captivated by the most beautiful, bright, full rainbow we had ever seen. We gasped as we beheld this unexpected display of glorious wonder amidst an ordinary Sunday afternoon. Customers all throughout the parking lot were taking photos and gazing into the sky, grocery carts pushed aside as the priorities of the evening were delayed in this moment of divine beauty. THIS was my wonder moment.

As I beheld the rainbow, this thought entered my heart:

The promise is worth the rain.

Every rain drop that fell from the sky throughout the day was worth the display of the magnificent rainbow. I want you to know that the rain in your life will be worth the rainbow that’s coming. Although storms seem to last forever, and there seems to be no end in sight, there is a promise on the other side of your storm.

Hebrews 6:13-14 tells us that God gave Abraham a promise and swore by Himself, because there was nothing higher to swear by, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.” Psalm 12:6-7 tells us that the words of the Lord are pure, like silver tried in a furnace purified seven times and that He will keep His words and preserve them forever. We all have received promises from God, spoken directly to our hearts and found within His word. God is not a man that He should lie, and He’s not toying with our emotions. If He said He'll do it, He will do it! The question is, are we willing to wait? There’s that gap of time between when God spoke and when the promise manifests when we must trust God and not allow impatience and murmuring delay the process. Hebrews 6:15 tells us that after Abraham patiently endured he received the promise.

In Psalm 27, titled An Exuberant Declaration of Faith, David proclaims,

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (vs. 16-17).

My encouragement to you (and myself) today is not to lose heart! Don’t try to make a “wonder moment” happen by creating your own promise in a time of impatience, as I did with the ferris wheel photo. God is bringing your promise in His timing. A promise that will be worth every teardrop of rain we’ve cried and every loud roaring storm that we’ve endured. In the meantime, our job is to stand firm by faith, patiently endure and wait for God. The promise is coming. The rainbow is worth the rain.

Emonne Markland

Leave Your Beauty Mark

Sonflower: Follow the Son

photo credit: Emonne Markland

A few Sundays ago, while walking with my daughter, I came across a field of beautiful sunflowers. I’ve always loved this unique type of flower and was so excited to get a snapshot up close, which is pictured above. I gazed at how beautifully they stand tall and erect, facing high to the sky. Later that evening, I decided to post one of my photos to Instagram and include a fun fact about sunflowers. As I began to review various facts, I was fascinated by the interesting characteristics of this beautiful creation. It is believed that the name “sunflower” is connected to both it’s look and behavior. When you look at a sunflower, you can see how it resembles the sun: a large, circular head and bright, yellow petals (which are actually individual flowers) encircling the center. However, the most fascinating fact about the sunflower is found in a process called heliotropism.

Heliotropism is the process in which a sunflower follows and faces the sun’s position in the sky. In the morning when the sun comes up, its head points East towards to sunrise. During the day, there are cells in the stem of the sunflower that cause its stem to tilt the sunflower’s head to receive the maximum amount of sunlight, tracking the movement of the sun throughout the day. At evening time, the sunflower’s head faces West towards the sunset, causing the sunflower to follow a 180 degree turn every day from sunrise to sunset. In the evening after the sun goes down, the sunflower goes back to its original position facing the East, awaiting the rising of the sun and is ready to follow the sun’s path again. After going into full bloom, the sunflower ceases its heliotropism behavior and stays in an East-facing position.

For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing would He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 AMP)

They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. (Psalm 34:5 NKJV)

Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun. (Ecclesiastes 11:7 NKJV)

As children of the Light, we can learn so much from the beautiful sunflower as she silently teaches us to follow her example. Just as the sunflower follows and faces the sun from sunrise to sunset, we must constantly keep our focus on the Son and follow His path. As we do this, we receive the power and energy from on high to continue to grow and bloom into all that God has for us. This past Spring, I did a post entitled "Bloom" and another entitled "The Whisper of Spring" where I discussed the beauty of Springtime and how God is bringing us into a season of freshness, beauty, high achievement and development. This summer, let's be encouraged by the story of the sunflower, a beautiful summer blossom, and continue to allow our lives to bloom. Let's follow the example of the sunflower and become flowers of the Son, Sonflowers who constantly keep our eyes fixed on Him and are empowered in His presence. When we look to Him, we are able to throw off the head-lowering countenance of shame and lift our heads high as we reflect the beautiful light of the Son and shine brightly in a dark world.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

Emonne Markland

Leave Your Beauty Mark

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