Fall is a most beautiful season to be at the beach. Today was one of those perfect fall days when walking along the shoreline, I could see the beauty of God's creation at almost every turn. I watched the waves gently roll in as the sun shone on my shoulders; I had the sound of the ocean in my ears, the smell of the salt air in my nose, and the feel of the cool sand between my toes.
And then I came up on a horseshoe crab that was turned up on its shell and obviously dead. Have you ever seen the underbelly of a horseshoe crab? It's really not a pretty sight. Their innards resemble a creature from a bad horror movie. And then I wondered why God made them? Or why, for that matter, God made any of the creatures that one might find kind of gross...like roaches.
If you look around, you'll see some beautiful things in creation, but you'll also see some ugly things, not just literally, but figuratively to be sure. Sin stained what was once a perfect paradise in the Garden of Eden, and has continued to stain our world since the fall.
The age-old question of "why do bad things happen to good people," can be answered by a look at Romans 3:12 "All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one" (emphasis added).
That may not mean much to the unbeliever, but for the Christian, we understand it. We understand that we live in a fallen world and because of this, the paradise that once was is no more. We understand that we are not good people, but sinners that need a Savior. And we understand that believing in Christ doesn't mean we will have an easy or that we won't still have "roaches" in our lives.
Our roaches might be sickness, heartbreak, unrequited love, financial struggles, even death of people we love. We Christians, like most everyone in the world, don't enjoy the bad times; but we understand that we have much to be grateful for in that Christ died on the Cross to save our souls from eternal hell. That's something to rejoice over, even if we aren't rejoicing over our current circumstances.
And think about the fact that without darkness we wouldn't recognize the light; without something bitter, we wouldn't appreciate something sweet; without the roaches, would we appreciate the butterflies? Sometimes the tough things can be a chance to expand our appreciation of the good things. And sometimes the tough things, the trials in life, come because we need them, even if we don't appreciate them.
In our, entertainment-fueled, distract-me-while-you-can society, where everyone is looking for a way to feel good all the time, the roaches really get in the way. And I understand that. I would rather look at a rose than a roach any day of the week. But still, I know that God has a purpose for everything. Nothing is here "by accident," and that includes us as well as the literal, and figurative roaches in our lives.
God does make beautiful things, and beautiful circumstances, but in His perfect will, He also makes roaches, and situations and circumstances we'd rather not face. Learn to give thanks for the beautiful things and the wonderful moments that present themselves, and learn to trust in God when the roaches show up. Then, in all circumstances, will you be able to rest in the glory of God.