Last weekend, we had incredibly beautiful weather, considering that we are in the middle of winter and for the last few weeks, our highs have been in the 30's. Last Saturday, the temperature actually climbed up to around 60 degrees. Since it was one of those rare, warm winter days, we decided to take a drive and explore the Stones River Battlefield.
Looking at the scenery there today, it is hard to imagine that thousands of souls lost their lives on that spot of ground. It was just so peaceful and tranquil. If those soldiers could see its beauty and serenity now, would they have ever thought that land could ever be anything other than a spot of turmoil, violence, and struggle?
I think our lives are much the same way. When we are caught up in the middle of conflict or trials, it is often hard to see the outcome on the other side. It is like we are blinded by the present pain, and can not see past the next few hours or days. In times like this, it is easy to lose hope and faith, but that is the time when we need those things the most.
To me, faith tells me that there is someone higher than me in control. Everything has to pass through God's hand before it can ever touch my life. He promises that all things work for the good of those who love God. With belief in that knowledge, I can have certainty that even the toughest trials will bring about something good in my life. Many times for me, it brings out a heightened since of gratitude for the countless blessings I have, and usually I walk away with a new perspective or some lessons learned. To me, the struggles are worth it, because I come out a better, stronger person in the end.
Hope is what keeps me clinging to my faith. Hope can be a stubborn companion, because when you want to give up, hope refuses to allow you to have a limited vision. Hope stretches you and reminds you that God has made promises, and even though you may not like what He is doing in your life at the moment, He has been the one who has given you life, and the strength to live it. Hope reminds me of God's promises and renews my faith when it is running thin because of the circumstances of this life. Hope is like God whispering his promises in your ear, and picking you up and dusting you off from your falls and walking alongside of you through the trials. It is what keeps me going in the tough times.
I am sure that the soldiers in the middle of the Civil War battle at Stones River would have never imagined this spot of land a refuge of tranquility on the outskirts of a thriving city--but that is what it is a hundred and fifty or so years later. It is a beautiful spot where people go to remember the struggle of the Civil War, and give thanks to the changes that the struggle brought. I think our memories of trials can serve the same purpose. We can look back and see the blessings and the growth that came because we endured and survived the trial.