By The Rev. Sherry Crompton
Trinity Sunday – June 19, 2011
Have you ever experienced a trauma? Like the death of a spouse—or a child—or a best friend? Like coming home to an empty house and finding a note that reads, “I’ve left you.” Like living with an alcoholic. Like having the doctor say, “Cancer!” Like giving in to your boyfriend only to have him dump you.
Think about a time when you suffered such an experience. Get in touch with those feelings again. How did you feel? Lost in darkness. Alone. Numb.
Your situation is like that in which God began to create. There was no form or substance, only a void—a deep, dark hole of nothingness. Out of that nothingness, God created something. Out of that nothingness, God created everything.
Out of our nothingness—out of our most terrible experiences, God can create something good in our lives. Here’s how:
Genesis tells us that God creates by moving.…and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. But we are so caught up in our own ways of living and moving that we fail to experience God’s moving.
• Our own moving dominates us.
• We take little time to think about what God wants, because we are so busy thinking about what we want.
• We don’t give God much of a chance to control our lives, because we want to be in control. We must do the moving.
But notice that creation didn’t happen until God moved. Our re-creation can’t happen unless we allow God to move in us.
• If we want God to create something from our nothingness, we must give him room to move in our lives.
• We must give up control to the Master Controller.
• We must open ourselves to God, giving him our hurt and pain.
• We must allow the Redeemer to transform our pain into Kingdom gain.
God creates by moving. We must give God room to move in our hearts and our lives if anything good is to come from our nothingness. God is the only one who can make it happen.
Genesis also tells us that God creates by separating. And God separated the light from the darkness.
Catherine Marshall told about her friend, Marge, who boarded a plane bound for Cleveland. As they sat on the runway, waiting for takeoff at dusk, she noticed a strange phenomenon. Looking across the aisle, she could see through the distant windows a beautiful sunset that lit up the sky in wonderful orange and red colors—on that side of the plane. But, looking through the window beside her, she could see only darkness. As she reflected on that, she heard a voice from within. The voice said:
You have noticed the windows.
Your life, too, will contain happy, beautiful times,
but will also contain dark shadows.
Here is a lesson I want to teach you
to save you much heartache
and to allow you to “abide in Me”
with continual peace and joy.
You see, it doesn’t matter which window you look through;
this plane is still going to Cleveland.
So it is with your life.
You have a choice.
You can dwell on the gloomy picture.
Or you can focus on the bright things
and leave the dark, ominous situations to Me.
I alone can handle them anyway.
And the final destination is not influenced
by what you see or feel along the way.
Try to remember that story, and recall it when your life seems full of darkness. God created by separating the light from the darkness. Into the nothingness of our darkness, God brings his divine light.
God created day and night. God created the sea and dry land. God created male and female. God gave us opposites, things that are in direct contrast with one another. God gave us checks and balances. In this regard order has to do with ebb and flow. Nothing is absolute and the rules that apply to the night are different than the rules that apply to the day. That being said, too much order can inhibit our ability to be creative.
It seems that God created a sense of balance. Our lives need to be offset by opposites. Work is offset by play. Alertness is offset by sleep. Seriousness is offset by humor. The way to bring some order to our chaotic lives is to strive for balance.
We can also find our way when we permit the light within ourselves shine for others. In the book, Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work, there is a story of a young man who started a dime store business in a small town. He was a good man, honest and friendly. When he reached a very old age he found himself lying in a hospital bed, dying.
The man summoned his three adult children to his bedside. His business had become successful and he wanted one of his children to take over as the future president of the company. He gave them each a dollar bill and told them to go out and buy whatever they wanted. But, whatever they bought it had to fill the room from corner to corner.
His children accepted the challenge willingly. Each was excited for the opportunity to lead the family business. The first child returned with two bales of hay. He took the hay and threw it in the air, filling the room with hay. But, in a few moments the hay settled on the floor. The second child returned with two pillows. He tore open the pillows and feathers filled the room. But, after a few moments they too settled on the floor.
The third child returned and the father said, “And what did you bring?” He answered, “Well, Dad, I took the dollar to the store and got change. I invested 50 cents, gave 20 cents to the church and 20 cents to charity. I took the remaining dime and bought two things; a candle and a pack of matches.” He then lit the candle with a match, reached over and turned off the lights in the room and the room was filled with light. “Well done, my son. You will be the president of my company,” said the father.
Like the man’s son, each of us has a light to shine. A single flame can light the way for someone in darkness. A single act of kindness, a word of encouragement can make the difference, helping others to find their way. We can find our way too with a little order in our lives. But, let us never fear chaos for chaos can lead to creativity.
Out of your nothingness, God can create something—all you will ever need—all you will ever want—if you just entrust your life to his power—right now. Remember Jesus’ words – “I am with you always, even to the end of the ages.” Amen.
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