The Beautiful Aftermath

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Long before Kelly Clarkson belted these words, German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche penned them (albeit, a tad more eloquently): “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Last week, the city of Houston was in crisis. My city was under water for days at end. Hospitals were in disaster mode. People were drowning in their cars. Life was submerged. And yet, as we drove through the city, I was amazed by all the life springing forth from every direction. Along the highway, there were stretches and stretches of wildflowers growing tall and bright. I remember being so surprised and taken aback by how vibrant everything looked. It made me think about the aftermath of the sometimes disastrous happenings of our lives. Isn’t it crazy how seemingly terrible things set the stage for something beautiful in the end?

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Such beauty arises in the midst of great devastation and the extremes of life. It’s really so odd to see though, isn’t it? In the cold, in the busyness, in a torrential rainfall – yet there is beauty there. But where does it come from? Surely not from those very same things that caused the struggles and sorrow! Ah, but yes, most assuredly, yes.

Nietzsche was right. Strength and beauty arise in the overcoming of that which seeks to destroy us. Though the world can be a cold place, though it can be bleak and harsh, there is One who will warm our hearts. Though the busyness of life can distract us from being joyful in our circumstances, there is One to whom we can run for rest. Though the storms of this life seek to destroy us and hold us submerged under the surface, there is One whom even the wind and waves obey.

The difficulties of this life are many and they come in all shapes and sizes. But there is one constant hope: Jesus Christ. And y’all, death actually couldn’t kill Him! Do we realize what that means?

Jesus Christ has overcome DEATH.

And if we believe in Him, so have we. For those of us who believe in Christ as their Savior, we must remember this: the only thing that could actually kill us was our sin. Christ took our sin upon Himself – he bore our sins on His body. He suffered. He died. But He didn’t stay dead. He overcame death. He overcame sin. Death has met its end! Death has died! Death couldn’t kill our beloved Savior. And because we have died to our old selves and have been raised again with Christ, death has no power over us either!

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Friends, death cannot kill us because we have been made strong in Christ. With His power before us and behind us, can any struggle, any trial, any difficulty win? We are the redeemed of the Lord! May we live boldly and confidently as such, knowing, trusting, that the struggles this life throws at us are intended for our growth, our pruning, our sanctification!

When I stand before the Lord on that day, I want to be ready for Him. I want to be beautiful for Him. I want Him to be pleased when He looks at me. I want to be His delight. Never have I understood this concept more clearly than now, in this season of life. If the struggles and trials help me weed out the bad and allow the good to bloom, then should I not joyfully welcome them when they come? If they will make me more beautiful for my sweet Jesus, will they not be worth it?

Oh, yes. They will be more than worth it.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. | Philippians 3:8-12

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