I got my eyebrows waxed the other day, and like so many other times, I wondered if my brow line was going to be bald by the time the esthetician was finished with me.
“Is she waxing them OFF?” I thought.
“Does she know what she’s doing? How experienced is she? How many times has she done this before?”
I couldn’t see what she was doing to my eyebrows, but each time she pulled a strip of hot wax off my forehead, I thought about the friend who once told me she had an entire eyebrow ripped off, during a waxing session gone awry. And I wondered if that’s what was happening to me.
The thought of it made me shiver.
But afterwards, when I looked in the mirror, I saw both eyebrows intact. They were shaped, groomed, no longer unruly. They looked more beautiful than before.
The session was painful and anxiety-provoking, but the expert assigned to me knew what she was doing. And my reflection in the mirror proved it.
It reminded me of how we so often walk through this life, wondering what God is doing.
Because sometimes this life hurts. And we endure so much pain. Grief. Loss. Hardship. Fear. Doubt. Uncertainty. Relentless demands.
And so often, it feels as if our hearts are being ripped out.
We wonder not only what God is doing to us, but also why He’s allowing such hurt.
It’s hard to think of anything good coming from pain because most of the time we can’t see what’s happening while it’s happening. We feel it, but we can’t yet see the progress, the outcome, the results.
We might look in the mirror and fail to recognize ourselves. Maybe not due to the absence of an eyebrow, but instead the absence of joy, peace, comfort – maybe even the absence of life.
But it’s the pain that shapes us.
And at some point, we’re going to step in front of the mirror and realize that we are better than before.
We’re not going to recognize ourselves because we look and feel different – not because the pain has made us worse, but because it’s made us better.
The process of shaping, of renewal, of ashes transforming into beauty – well, it hurts.
But when we survive another painful encounter with life, we are changed. Our hearts are made more beautiful — our capacity to care for others grows.
And we realize that God, the expert on our lives, knew what He was doing all along.