I was looking out of the car window the other day, while my son was busy pumping gas into our car, when I noticed a little tree standing a few feet away from me. After staring at it a while, I became mesmerized by the beauty of its green leaves, the crumbly bark, and the way it swayed slightly in the breeze. Yet, the scene was hardly a snapshot for a painting. The dirt around the sapling was dusty with some scraggly weeds poking through it and the rest of the surrounding area was all concrete. How this tree was thriving was beyond me. I could only marvel at God’s beauty, even when it is surrounded by the mundane and ugly.
It is quite common for me to find the beauty in all that I see. As an artist, the smallest and tiniest thing can fascinate me. Have you ever looked closely at a butterfly’s wing? A snowflake? Every last detail on every last thing was seen to by God….so you can be assured that it is beautiful. When you recreate something of beauty, be it a painting, sculpture or photograph, you must always look back to Whom actually made that beauty. After all, you are simply recreating things, never truly ‘creating’ anything new. Too often, artists are prideful of their work, when they should actually humbly recognize the gift that was bestowed on them by God. Remaining humble helps to keep yourself open to God’s inspiration, so that through Him, you can create that next masterpiece for His sake.
Paintings and artwork and being artistic are not the only way that God moves us to create beauty. Writing can be a thing of beauty….if it is done to show the beauty of God. I so enjoy a good book (especially the Good Book), where I can visualize all of the beautiful places and things that others have been to and seen. Music is another way to visualize beauty. I can get completely lost in all that is beautiful, visualizing all of the beautiful creations that God has made while being carried along by the music. There is no limit to how one can create beauty. The point here is to find ways to create it.
Some people feel that unless they do something BIG, or something tangible that they can touch or feel, they are not contributing to our society’s beauty in the name of God. Not so. Your career, no matter what that career may be, can be a tribute to the beauty of God. A wife creates beauty by raising Servants of Christ. A husband creates beauty by raising sons who will eventually care for his family through his father’s example. A doctor cures, a lawyer defends, a social worker protects, and on and on. Even a trash collecting job, whom our society has deemed undesirable, creates beauty. By hauling off trash, the area becomes more beautiful. Beauty can be seen in everything and by anyone. All you must do is look.
I will admit that this world can be a very ugly place to live. There is death and destruction and despair everywhere we turn. Being a foster mother has really opened my eyes to a lot of the ugliness in this world. Yet, I found beauty there too. I entered the courtroom the other day terrified to see ‘Coconut’s’ father for the first time in person (Coconut is my foster son, whom we have nick-named for his privacy) . I had seen pictures of this man, but after the terribly ugly things that he had done to that sweet baby, I was so sure that I would be looking at the devil, himself. When he was led into the room, chained like an animal and shuffling in his flip-flops, I was struck by something else. A child. This man whom I had feared, was nothing more than a child of God who had strayed down a dark and terrible path. I know there are many people who have no tolerance for people who have made really bad decisions, but it was hard for me to feel anything but sadness and pity for this creature of God’s design. I pray for this man, and hope that he will not be lost forever….but saved. To wish anything else might make me loose sight of what is most beautiful about God. His salvation.
There lies the true beauty in all things. Christ died to save us. Jesus paid the price. Although all of our ugly parts are on display every single day of our lives…..He still sees the beauty in us. Not one person is ‘ugly’ to Him. All we must do is utter the words “I believe in You and I trust in You. I know that you died so that you could save me, please live within me and guide my steps”, and we are saved. Once spoken, we are made beautiful again. Our ugly parts are washed away with His blood, and we are made new. We can be assured after enduring the ugly parts of this life, that we will be forever surrounded by the beauty of God forever, in heaven.
The next time you struggle to see the beauty in all things….look no further than just beyond the end of your nose. Beauty is everywhere and in everything, you just have to look at things the way Christ does…….