Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death...

God isn't just beautiful; he is Beauty.  God isn't just good; He is Goodness. God isn't just true; He is Truth. And he put these qualities into His creation. To experience beauty, goodness and truth in the world is to taste a glimmer of who God is.

I've probably written all of the above on this blog before, but it hit me in a profound way recently. I think God uses these to speak to us, each quality highlighted at different times for different people. But they all point to God. Whether it is a lawyer fighting for the truth, a mother sacrificing sleep for the good of her sick child or the artist capturing beauty of the ocean on his canvas. All very different, yet all a piece of the same reality. This blows my mind and touches my heart.

Truth, Beauty and Goodness all serve to point me back at my creator, chiefly beauty has been the source of the most raw and poignant moments for me. This has especially been so for me recently.

Today I saw one of the most enchantingly unreal  sunsets I can ever remember seeing. It was like a painting, or something from a fantasy world. The huge orange glowing sun kissed the horizon, radiating soft rings of peach and mauve, blending into and complimenting the soft grey cloud cover. The perfect contrast of the silhouetted trees made the whole scene pop. This majestic vista was before  me while listening to fitting lyrics: "And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you. Would you tell me how it could be better than this."
('Everything' by Jesus Culture)

There is no doubt in my mind that this beautiful sight was a gift from God. And if the joy it gave me is only a fraction of the happiness of knowing God Himself, well, then, my mind is blown!

But there is also marks the two year anniversary of an incredible example of  God filling my life with his Goodness. April 15, 2012 was my last day of an exactly one month stay in the hospital. It was my last day because my health had changed 180 degrees for the better. I was well, I was happy, I had recovered from severe depression. I had come out of what I think I can accurately describe as hell on Earth, out of what seemed a  hopeless gloom, out of what the last resort had been to involuntarily admit me to a mental hospital for 30 whole days.

When I think back to those days, it seems so surreal. I almost laugh at the thought that  it all really happened, that I lived under a seemingly unbreakable shadow. But more than that, it is more amazing that  the shadow was overcome, pierced by a stronger light.

Depression is the result of an ill mind, one that cannot see clearly, one that is not living in reality, not seeing the truth. God had blessed me with many profound experiences of beauty (such as the view of the glistening spring ocean from the hospital grounds) and goodness (such as the tireless work and kindness of  the psychiatric nurses). But the gift of truth is just as incredible. At the end of my psych ward stay, I woke up feeling happy, knowing that I have been blessed with the tools and guides and graces needed to take in the sun beams of truth from now on, to persevere on the journey.

This world is separated from God, so there are pockets void of the truth, the beauty and the goodness that should have been there. We suffer because of that lack, and we have short memories and we forget  that God is bigger than any of those tears and rips in the grand tapestry. But every time I experience one of those heart swelling moments I remember and I know.

Knowing Christ met us in that rift, and suffered through the darkest of darkest deaths to mend that divide gives us the ultimate hope that can fill any dark hole. Of all the true, beautiful and good things that point us to the God's love, Christ's death and resurrection is THE zenith.  Of course it not only points us to His love, it IS God come into the world! Mind blowing! 

What beauty that I can celebrate this anniversary of recovery in Holy Week, as Christians prepare to celebrate the greatest recovery in history. It is the perfect time to offer up the dark times and celebrate the light that floods the darkness away.

God bless you all this Holy Week and Easter! I pray that our hearts may be open to all the good and beauteous truths that God has in store for us.


Gabbie said…
Thank you Emily for posting these beautiful thoughts. And a blessed Holy Week back to you.
Steph said…
Really beautiful Emily! I appreciate that you're willing to talk about your experience of depression, making it that much more comprehensible to those of us who don't know what it's like. God bless you this Holy Week!

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