Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
“Many rulers have ravaged my vineyard, trampling down the vines and turning all its beauty into a barren wilderness
1 Peter 3:4
You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
Today’s blog was inspired not by the sermon at church. Not by a tugging on my heart to write about ugliness. But instead it comes from reading a facebook posting from a teenager I have come to know and love. It simple said: life is ugly. Boy there is so much truth spoken in those three simple words. Life is not the most beautiful thing, unless you gaze upon it with with an accurate eye. I even spoke to my daughter yesterday about how this winter has just been glorious to me. The beauty of the snow is just a wonder to me this year. I have never just driven around to capture pictures, traipsing through almost knee high snow to grab just the right angle. I did not want to miss anything. I could see past the coldness and the torture on my body to the beauty which surrounded me. I was actually in awe as I ended my photo journey at the shore of Lake Michigan. My daughter said perhaps my joy of the snow this year is because it took so long to get here, hmmm, I think it goes deeper than that.
As I read that life is ugly, I remembered in my minds eye about how things begin to look in the fall. The pretty leaves are gone. The grass is no longer a vibrant green. Even the rivers and lakes look gloomy. Everything seems dormant and forgotten about, left to die. Then comes the snow. The white powder which covers everything in it’s path covering the ugly browns and dirt colors. Then it lingers, as that which is under it becomes transformed. Then spring arrives and the colors begin to pop out every where. The birds are singing. The crickets are chirping. Everything just comes to life again. Joy as re-birthed itself in the earth. Wow! Can you just see how all of this points to God?
Before God has entered our hearts we see life as routine, bothersome, difficult and…..ugly. We cannot see through the mud of our lives the beauty which surrounds us. We are stuck in the mentality that beauty does not exist, that perhaps it is just in the eye of the beholder. Surely there is some truth in this for the eye of the beholder I speak of is God. He is the creator of this earth and He only sees the beauty of His creation, however when we do not have God on the inside, then we cannot see what He sees. As we draw closer to the point in our ugly lives to choosing God for it, we often find ourselves in a moment of gloom. What we thought was life in us turns brown and then dies. Then as we begin to shed our “leaves” and reveal our true selves to the Maker. It is this broken moment when we turn to Him, ask for forgiveness from our sins and accept Him as our Lord and Savior that He covers us and as white as snow we become.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
I think that’s what gets me about this winter snow! He is renewing the earth under all of this snow, preparing the life which awaits underneath to spring back to life. This is how it is when we repent and accept and are washed, we are covered in Him only to be revealed with new life and a zest for life like never before. Experiencing this wonderful snow is like God just spent some one on one quality time with me and He is working to reveal a whole new me soon. As I undergo major dental work, publish my book and seek a new home, God is working on the inside to correct my wrong thinking so that when I am revealed, I will be whole and see what He sees. I long to be like Jesus and it’s a process, yet one of the first things is to see with His eyes. To view the earth and all who dwell here like He would see it. Being the Son of God He only sees beauty everywhere. I want to be like that.
I want to see beauty in the summer, fall, winter and spring in people, no matter what stage people are in their lives, just like Jesus I want to meet them where they are. This is not easy, however the more my eyes are focused on Jesus, the more I see like He does. Just the other day I posted a post on facebook, “As I walk out on the water with my eyes of Jesus there is nothing to fear.” and my comical son said I should probably give Jesus His eyes back. Sure it sounded funny and it was a mistype but after further examination I thought to myself, what if we did have Jesus’ eyes for just one day? Would we see things more clearly? Would we be moved to greater compassion? Would we be broken at what we saw? Would we be able to see where grace should be given? Would we begin to understand where people came from? Would we be able to heal the brokenness all around us just because we see the hurt?
God calls us to see the beauty in life. Yes, life is hard. Yes life is unfair at times. But it is always filled with beauty if we use the right eyes to see it with. If you are the beholder, see what God sees. Look past the clothing. Look past the radical hair. Look past the tattoos. Don’t even see the piercings and the language used. Look at the heart. Love with the Fathers love which is all accepting. God loves you just as much as He loves me. He loves the beggar as much as the drug dealer. He cares for the window just as much as the drug abuser. God does not see the bad, He only sees His destiny for you and will do whatever it takes to get you there. Believe in Beauty!