When I look at the world today, I am often overwhelmed by the uncertainty, fear and anger that seems to be seeping into society. It is a scary time for many people and has been for a while now. It is in these times that I think it is the most important to stop, look around and find the beauty in what is all around us.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV). Are those not beautiful words in and of themselves? A breath of fresh air laced with love. The most beautiful thing here is that all these qualities can be found in God.
As David says in Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (ESV). A lovely image, is it not? The good news here is that “the beauty of the Lord” is everywhere. God, in His goodness, has made His beauty apparent in so many different places.
There is beauty in creation. Yes, even in the frozen tundra of Minnesota winters, there is beauty. The dusting of snow on the trees, the stillness of frozen lakes, the crisp air that awakens me to life. God did not have to create the world beautiful. He could have simply made creation functional and practical. Yet out of His eternal love, He made nature a place for us to see and rejoice in His beauty. It is a place to rest in awe and wonder of His glory.
There is beauty in art. Art can come in many different forms. As a writer, I want my words to be beautiful, to glorify God. Paintings, drawings, theater productions and sculptures are also all ways to express creativity, a gift from God. God cares about art. The tabernacle, and later the Temple, were both crafted with gold, engraved with ornate patterns and decorated with the best the Israelites had. There is beauty in the most ornate of churches, and there is a beauty in stripped-down wooden sheds where people gather to worship. God dwells in both the presence and absence of art.
There is beauty in God’s presence. Experiencing God through prayer, worship and Scripture all refresh my soul with the pure beauty that is God. I can get so caught up in the busyness and craziness of life that I forget how important it is to stop and be in the present moment with God. Sometimes the best way to be in awe of God is to simply sit and rest with Him, letting His goodness soak into my very soul in the quiet and still moments.
There is beauty inherent in other people. The more time I spend with God, letting His love revitalize my soul, the more I treat others with that same love and the more I see people as God sees them. I think it is important to remember that everyone is made in the image of God, a beautiful image. Recognizing this beauty helps me want to put beauty back into the world.
As Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (ESV). There is such anger and strife in the world. I want to shine in the world as a light for God’s beauty. I do not want to fight hatred with hate. I want to change the world, and be changed myself, through love, by resting in God’s beauty.