"Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God's love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love" (Eric Liddell, in Disciplines of the Christian Life).
Most folks know the name of Eric Liddell from the popular movie, Chariots of Fire, where he refused to run in his scheduled race at the Paris Olympics because it was on the Sabbath. Less known, and not featured in the movie, was his life as a missionary in pre-Communist China, where he ultimately died of a brain hemorrhage while ministering in a Japanese internment camp.
I love the phrase "among the ruins," because life in general and sometimes personally feels as if it is in ruins, where beyond the veneer of civility or civilization, like a false front on a building, there is the ugly mess of sin and tragedy. It reminds me of C.S. Lewis's phrase for life this side of Heaven: "shadowlands." Or as I sometimes say to myself and to my children (and perhaps I picked it up somewhere else), this life is just the dress rehearsal for the real life to come, the real drama, the bigger and richer Story.
It is comforting to know that God is writing the Story, that the Author of Life gets to say how it will end, that He has said how it will end -- that there will be beauty from ashes, and shadows will be exchanged for pure light, and in the end the angels who are reading along, following the plot, watching the tragic, the comic, and the fairy tale unfold, will close the book at Time's end, turn to one another, sigh, and say, "Well now, it was all about Love, after all, wasn't it?"