For my husband’s 50th birthday, we decided to celebrate by taking a major bucket list ticking holiday to Hawaii. We were not disappointed. The friendly people, the bending coconut palms, the perfect temperature, the rolling swells of Waikiki Beach all added to make this a perfect holiday destination. But this was a land that had been shaped by volcanic eruptions. It had endured violent shaking and destructive fire. And, in more recent times, it also endured the impact of war. As I floated on the ocean, looking back over the island, observing the distinctive green mountain ridge shaped from those eruptions and weathered by winds and rain, I heard myself whispering, “He makes everything beautiful in its time.” I couldn’t remember where I had heard that, so I looked it up and found it was a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 3:11: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (NLT) My own life has been a series of those very volcanic eruptions, shakings, fires, battles and erosions that this beautiful island had been subjected to in its history. I couldn’t help but see some of the parallels of my own life’s story with that of the landscape that unfolded in front of me. And as I drifted weightlessly over the gentle swells of the turquoise ocean with the sun bathing me in golden light, I began to ponder on the incredible faithfulness of God that even when things were at their worst, He had a ‘scope of work’ that embraced the beginning, the end and everything in the middle, and He purposed to make it beautiful in its time. The Australian bush is a testament to the nature of God. Fires cause many species of native plants to germinate, instantly regenerating after fires have seemingly devastated the land. The fire controls the growth of weeds and encourages other species of plants to repopulate the scarred landscape. The potential of many seed pods lying dormant in the ground is only realised when a fire comes through the land. Just think about that! What potential in us lies dormant and undiscovered until we face some of life’s fires? One of my favourite passages of Scriptures comes from Isaiah 61 – a prophecy of all that the coming Messiah would achieve in His mission and ministry. The words that stick out to me come from verse 3: “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.” (NIV) There was a song we used to sing at church when I was a kid. It went like this: Something beautiful,Something good,All my confusionHe understood.All I had to offer HimWas brokenness and strifeBut He made somethingBeautiful of my Life. As I emerged from those regenerating waters, I felt unbelievably grateful for the Kairos of the things He has done in my life. Only Jesus can take the ashes of our lives, the broken, shattered parts of our heart, and make something breathtakingly beautiful out of them. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and is faithfully at work in the middle. He longs to display His splendour, and His great love, in our lives.