Peace After Tragedy

March 26, 2018 // Rachel Hyland

Trying to process the horrific tragedy of a friend, I sought out a special little garden I often go to when I need to be alone with God.

A few months earlier when I had come for one of these God Encounters, a storm had just come through and ravaged the beautiful trees and plants leaving many tall, otherwise healthy trees snapped in two like a broken toothpick. Some trees were completely destroyed, uprooted, and lying on the ground. Some of the paths were even closed due to the vast destruction from the storm. I wondered if the garden would ever come back from all the destruction I saw that day.

On this early Spring day, the air still held a chill as I walked through the meandering paths of the garden. I was amazed at the clean up that had taken place by the garden caretakers. All of the debris had been cleared away and paths had been reopened while birds chirped on the budding branches of the once ravaged trees. I walked in awe as I witnessed the resilience of God’s creation to rebound from the storms of life.

But my soul was still in turmoil. How do I make sense of this senseless tragedy? I walked and I prayed. I sat by the waterfall and told God how confused and angry I was. I asked Him to help me release this burden I had taken on and trust Him to make it all work together for good. Like peeling back the onion, each round of the struggle brought new levels of forgiveness to my heart and some measure of relief.

It was only when I started to exit the garden that the final release came. As I started to walk out of the garden the Holy Spirit whispered, “Go down the path to the left.” I hesitated and my mental response was, “But Lord, there is nothing there but a hedge.” Again, He said, “Go to the left.” So I began walking to the left, and when I came to the hedge I realized there was a set of steps leading down to a plateau with a large pond of water on top of the deeply sloping land the garden had been developed on. I stood in amazement as I realized this pond was what fed the many streams that ran throughout the garden.

As I thanked God for allowing me to discover this beautiful spot where the whole garden started and its beauty continued to be fed, I looked up and realized that across the pond was the most spectacular view. From this spot I could see the entire garden, every path, every stream, and all the new life that had sprung forth since the storm. Very gently the Holy Spirit said to me, “Rachel, I know the Big Picture. Although this tragedy seems unfair and senseless to you, just like the beauty you now see since the storm ravaged this garden, if you will be still and trust me you will see the beauty I will bring from this situation as well. See the water that has fed and restored this broken garden? I am the Living Water and I will bring life to all who have been broken by the storms of life. In time, you will see that even this pain has a purpose.”

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

What brokenness are you struggling with today? He is the Living Water and will bring restoration to your broken heart and make sense of your senseless pain, if you will only trust Him!

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