We recently spent a day hiking in the Chiricahua National Monument enjoying the "Wonderland of Rocks" in eastern Arizona. A volunteer at the Monument's Visitor Center recommended an addition to our planned hike which promised fantastic views and lots of wildflowers. We took the advice, and began the ascent up Sugarloaf Mountain where a massive wildfire had destroyed dozens of trees that once graced the mountainside. The blackened skeletal remains of the trees were a stark reminder of the mountain's fierce trial by fire.
Rounding a bend in the trail revealed a new vista that overshadowed the great losses. Lush wildflowers cascaded down the mountainside like a blanket of color. We were soon walking through waist-high pink salvia, masses of goldeneye, and scarlet coral bells. The ravages of the fire were visible, but faded rapidly in the abundance of color. God was healing the scars left by the fire, planting a garden more glorious than the first. One that wouldn't have flourished without the trial that made way for something better.
The testings we experience often leave scars just like the blackened trees. These are hard times, difficult to bear or understand. We feel the heat of the refining fire. But glory always follows, because God's purpose is in the trial. They aren't whimsical or meaningless. The loving Heavenly Father can be trusted to see His children through the hard times. The result? New growth comes, and genuine flourishing faith that honors the Savior.
|Salvia and rufous hummingbird|