This summer, I have begun reading Les Miserables: the complete, unabridged version. Why? Because my heart is tightly wrapped around two words right now: freedom & rest. The latter, I have posted about a few times over the last year, but the former I’m still milling over. There’s just so much to that one word we often throw around with gusto, while missing its impact upon our lives and the lives of others. One other word that stands as an umbrella over those two, as well as countless others, is grace. And that is what led me to Les Mis, because it is an epic story of grace triumphing over law.
In reading this–the first piece of true literature that I’ve read in a long time–I’ve relearned how much of a processor I am. Hence the highlighting to the right of the quote. There are many such marks scattered throughout the pages, but this one stopped me dead in my tracks. I won’t give away any details (mostly because it took 20 pages to get here, but also because this book seriously deserves your time), but I will say this: Marius has come up to a roadblock; his dreams and visions have been shattered not once already, but twice, and again he comes to a point of decision, a point where faith must be picked up from the bloody ground and reformed & remolded into what it–he–is meant to be.
Been there? Done that? They don’t sell t-shirts for this kind of thing, it’s not happy-go-lucky enough to display to a world where happy-go-lucky is “needed”.
Well, I would make a t-shirt if I could, perhaps with this quote on it, simply because of the fact that I’ve walked through this. I’m still walking through this. The wounds in my heart are deep, but just as the earth must be torn open and driven through in order for harvest to be realized, so also must my heart–even my life–be thrust into the throws of trials in order for God to bring a harvest here. That harvest may not look like a field full of his blessing. But it will look like Him. For that is his will for us. Will we trust the lord of the harvest?
Don’t lose heart when you only feel the wounds and the emptiness and discontent within you, for the seed is coming. The rain will fall. The harvest will come. Joy will deepen in the midst of our trials as we watch and wait for him. Our God is faithful. Never has he forsaken his beloved ones.
Count it all joy, my brothers, will you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing….Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (james 1).