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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
"Great Value in Disaster"
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness,the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3
I read the following account in Bits and Pieces several years ago: At 67, Thomas Edison had already invented the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies, and more than 1000 other things. By the month of December 1914, he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery. This had greatly strained his finances. This particular evening, spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were in flames. Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the attempt to douse the flames was futile. Everything was destroyed. With all his assets going up in a whoosh (although the damage exceeded two million dollars, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof), would his spirit be broken?
The inventor's 24-year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. "My heart ached for him," said Charles. "He was 67--no longer a young man--and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, 'Charles, where's your mother?' When I told him I didn't know, he said, 'Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.'" The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew." Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph.
In the verse above, we see that God can bring beauty from ashes, joy from mourning, and praise from heaviness. When tragic things occur, we are tempted to question God. Of course this is natural because God gave us thinking minds. However, what can be worse is that we may feel compelled to defend God. We act as God's defense attorney when we try to explain why God allowed something awful to take place. What we need to learn to do in times of tragedy is simply cling to Him. He doesn't need our defense, nor do we need all the answers; we simply need Him. He alone is the answer to all our questions, and He will help bring beauty from the ashes. The joy of the Lord, not the joy of knowing the why, will be our strength. He becomes our Burden Bearer, and the heaviness of heart is replaced with praise.
No matter what you must endure, remember that His mercy endureth forever, and He can turn your tragedies into your triumphs.