Part of Creation

When I was struggling with PTSD I thought life was unfair. I saw myself as a scrawny yucca plant, growing in poor ground. Yet God explained that any chance to live, poor or rich ground alike, is a tremendous opportunity. What are you most grateful for about this opportunity called Life?


Video transcript (edited):

For awhile I struggled with PTSD. It was awful. Butt-kicking and horrendous. It it left me powerless. One day, during this period, I went for a run, looking for answers and pleading with God for help. I ran to an overlook where I was able to look out over a landscape of desert vegetation.

That day the yucca plants were in bloom. Yucca (pronounced “yuck - uh”) is a cactus plant. Here, it’s a ball of tough, spiny leaves shooting out in all directions from the base, about two or three feet in diameter. When it flowers, it grows a thick stalk, shooting up three or four or five feet above the leafy plant. A huge cluster of flowers blooms at the end of the stalk. It's striking.

That day the landscape was pocked with these stalks of white flowers. As my grumpiness seeped in, I imagined God looking across His creations, like me above this landscape, seeing the people on the earth stretched out before him. Then I looked closer. And I complained.

“God.” I said. “What's going on here? Look at those yucca. Some are down in the valleys, in the low areas. They are thriving! They are bigger. They're greener. Their flower stalks are larger and more beautiful. They are more in every way. They're getting more water. They’re getting protection from the wind. They’re even getting some shade during the day (important in a sunny, hot desert). They're thriving.

“Now look at those yucca on top of that rise. They're struggling. They're barely getting by. They're half the size. They look dried up. They're sending up their stalks just like the others, but their stalks are small and pitiful.

"This stinks. Why do You let this happen? Why can't you give all of the yucca water and good places to live?"

And God replied, "Sarah. Look out at this landscape. It is glorious and beautiful. This is what I've created. This is Creation and all of those plants down there have a chance to be part of it. They are thrilled to be part of it. They're thrilled to be alive. It doesn't matter so much, — it’s like splitting hairs — if they are on top of the hill or at the bottom of the hill because the opportunity to live and grow and be part of this is so incredible. The rest -- the little differences -- pale in comparison.

“Sarah. There are billions of seeds thrown out into the world, all looking for an opportunity to grow and be part of this. Most of them don’t even get that opportunity. But those that do are here and they're grateful just to be part of it."

What I realized and felt that day was joy that I get to be part of creation, even though it's butt-kicking hard sometimes. Even though it hurts like crazy. Even though it knocks me off my feet. Even though I look like a struggling, scrawny, grayish yucca with a tiny flower stock. I get to be part of this! I get to live! I get to know God! I get to be alive and create and do things and be part of God’s Creation, part of this earth, part of life! It is glorious. It is beautiful. It is wonderful.

There's a scripture that comes to mind. In our church we have a book of scripture called the Book of Mormon. In this book, the first chapter tells the story of a man named Lehi who lived in Jerusalem about 600 years before Jesus Christ was born. At that time a bunch of prophets were telling people to repent because Jerusalem would be destroyed. When Lehi heard these prophets he went to his room and prayed. He poured out his heart on behalf of his people.

I believe that he wanted God to save his people and not destroy them. Then he ends up seeing a vision and it doesn't tell exactly what he sees, but I think he sees God's plan for his people. At the end of this vision Lehi exclaims, "Great and marvelous are thy works Oh Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens and thy power and goodness and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth. And because thou art merciful thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish."

Sometimes I get caught up in that narrow viewpoint I shared with God on my run. I get caught up in, "It's not fair and it's hard and it stinks." But if I look with God's perspective I can see that life is a miracle. God is kind and His goodness and mercy is over all of us, including me and including you, and God is so SO good. When I see that, when I get a little bit of that godly perspective, it changes everything.

My question for you today is, What are you most grateful for about this opportunity called Life? There are blessings even if you're getting your butt kicked by the worst thing you’ve experienced to date. There is still opportunity in being alive and part of God's glorious work on the earth.

That's all for today.

Keep shining.


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