When there are eruptions within our sphere, we need to make our world bigger.

He squatted with his knees up to his chest and his hands covering his face.

This is how one man’s life came to an end when Mount Vesuvius rained down toxic gases and a cloud of ash that covered every living creature in the town of Pompeii.

I stared through the glass at what looked like ancient statues in the most unusual positions. Some seemed to be running. Others appeared like they had fallen to the ground; arms outstretched in front of them.

These life-sized figures were real people—wives, husbands, mothers and children—caught out by the fire and brimstone that enveloped them.

On a hot summer’s day in Italy with sweat covering my forehead, these 2,000 year old human beings frozen in their last pose of life sent a cold chill trickling down my back.

In one small corner of the world in 79 AD, disaster rained down.

Pompeii, quite literally, came to an end.

Our experiences can feel similar.

In the days following Brexit, I felt my country, Great Britain, would change from all I have known when the yes vote to exit from the European Union won. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach.

It’s the same feeling I had a few years ago as I lay in the small hospital room listening to the doctor’s diagnosis of the lump identified in the mammogram. My world turned upside down.

How do we comprehend and deal with devastating events in our lives?

Whatever is happening in our small sphere, we need to remember the world is different elsewhere.

Chicken Little, or Chicken Licken as I know her from being brought up in England, ran around frantically when an acorn fell on her head saying the sky was falling in. She needed a better view of what was happening.

When there are eruptions within our domain, we need to see beyond it.

On that fateful day in Italy, if you had lived a little way down the road from Pompeii, the sun would have been shining, the birds would have been singing, and life would have carried on as if normal.

We need to be brave and ask God to give us his perspective—one that is wider, deeper and higher than our own limited viewpoint.

What seems like the end of the world is very rarely the case.

And we have to trust God’s bigger view is better than our limited vision.

As archeologists slowly and painstakingly removed the thirteen to twenty feet (four to six meters) of volcanic dust covering Pompeii, they found beauty beneath the ashes. And that’s what I saw on my visit. I marveled at the beautiful frescos, dainty mosaic floors, and majestic pillars.

And so, in the ashes of our circumstances, let’s search to find God’s perspective and the beauty he promises to bring into our lives.

Maybe it will take a long time. Perhaps we won’t see the good, but other people will. Yet, God does promise to work all things together for good.

So, let’s be confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus and Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth

  • I loved the lesson you shared here. What an amazing God we serve Who can bring forth beauty from that which looks broken and ruined to us!

  • Yes! We need to make our world bigger, and always remember that God is the biggest of all. Thank you for wisely encouraging us to broaden our perspective in these tumultuous days, and for sharing with us at Grace & Truth!

  • Rachel, this is an incredibly powerful word and I have been truly blessed by my visit with you today, Love. Thank you so much for sharing this! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! *HUGS* 🙂

  • Poignant, Rachel. I stared at your photos of the mummified-looking people from that fateful Pompeii day. May we each believe that God is faithful and that beauty truly comes from ashes in our lives. Love you, friend. Can’t wait to hug your neck at She Speaks next week.

  • Great wisdom here, Rachel and so needed in our world today. Safe travels to you and I look forward to more wise words inspired by your travels!

  • Loved your reminder Rachel to seek God’s perspective on the issues that make little sense to us. I have found His view always encourages me.

  • I’ve seen the documentaries about Pompeii, people frozen in ashen fear for all time. Had they believed or heard of Jesus? We too, let life’s eruptions freeze us with fear What a wonderful Lord to give us beauty for those ashes. When we have trouble, it’s easy to fall into it’s all about me, and our world is small. But it’s all about Him and He’s got the whole world in His hands.

  • This is a wonderful take-away from the ashes of Pompeii. We forget that life did go on elsewhere as if nothing happened. That’s the way it is when we feel like our world has rained fire upon us, and we step back and the world goes on… oblivious to the real pain we endure.
    So grateful that we can trust God even in those ashen moments to lift us up and uncover the beauty that comes from His ability to restore all that is His. Thank you for this post!

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