Perhaps because it was an unusually difficult day – even, twisted perhaps? A serpentine limb along the beach captured my attention. I stopped to look at it, marveling that one limb could have suffered enough injuries to cause it to fold and unfold through the vegetation around it without breaking into pieces. And, yet, this twisted and re-twisted limb was alive, thick and solid, with vibrant green leaves dressing it in showy splendor.


Are we not like twisted limbs? Most of us can empathize with this storm-lashed tree that has healed after each North Sea onslaught that left it broken and frayed. Just as punishing winds and water-flung fury strengthened the limb, transforming it into a unique, interesting mini-portrait of Jesus’ creative wonder, we illustrate the same elements in the character growth of our lives.


Had we never been injured, how could we find compassion to help something else that had been injured? Had we never known pain, how could we understand another’s pain? Had we not been grieved, how could we comfort? God is too good to be cruel, too wise to make mistakes. Every bashing, thrashing storm that God has allowed to blow into our lives has brought something new and miraculous with it. Every turbulent wind has whisked away something old, unlovely and unprofitable.


Because I once lived under a bridge, painting signs in exchange for meals and washing in frigid river water in winter, I understand struggle and hardship. God allowed the storms in my life to blow away self-centeredness and blow in ideas for my Christian mystery-romance-suspense “Bridge to Nowhere.”


Because I was sexually abused as a child and forced into two abortions as a teen to hide the abuse, God used that storm in my life to blow away my atheistic vision and bring in new vision that enabled me to write the pro-life adventure-romance “Love’s Beating Heart.”


What gift is God attempting to send you through whatever storm blows through your life today? Don’t be afraid to be twisted. You could be one of the best portraits God ever painted.


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