“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11). One cannot look at the renewal of nature taking place around us right now and not be impressed with the truth of this statement. At this time of year all nature bursts forth in glorious array. Fresh, tender green plants, new leaves on trees, flowers in abundance all speak of a continuing faithfulness of the Creator who pledged to Noah …
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22).
Not only does the world go on, but it truly it goes on with a beauty that only God could have made. We cannot help but be impressed with His apparent appreciation of beauty. He lavished it extravagantly upon his creation in so many ways. Majestic mountains, and low rolling hills clothed with grass and trees, alive with birds and beasts of endless variety. Mighty oceans and rippling brooks, rocks, rills and rivers, deserts, dells and deltas, each with its own suitable manifestation of life – each with its own kind of beauty.
If we will but behold it, beauty is all around us. There is a beauty that differs from and transcends that of nature.It may be seen … In the tenderness of a mother caring for her baby. In the innocence of children playing, imagining, laughing. In the earnestness of a father patiently training and guiding his children as he laughs and plays with them. In youth as they commit their lives to live honorable, honest and helpful lives in a world that too often does little or nothing to encourage such living. In the lives of unassuming, righteous, committed, faithful, godly men and women as they quietly go about their lives of worshipful service to God and their fellow man.
But in what does God see beauty? Surely it is in all that he has made beautiful – all that he has made good – all that he has made. Does he not also see beauty in people whom he made in his own likeness and who more than anything want to become what He made man to be – more and more like Him in holiness? Does he not see beauty in the innocence of a little child and in the pure, clear hope of one who has lived his or her life in holiness and is awaiting their call to “come home” and be with him? Does he not see beauty in the life of one who has committed their life to doing his will and who is doing all they can do to encourage others to do so as well?
“The apostle speaks of ‘the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit‘ (1Pet. 3:4). And in goodness and holiness of every kind there is a sweetness and grace which may well be called “beauty,” seeing that it has a close analogy with the beautiful in external nature and in art. The Greeks expressed physical beauty and moral perfection by one and the same term—τὸ καλόν.” (Pulpit Commentary).
Sadly we see so often, not the beauty that God made the world to possess, but ugliness and violence and we experience from the world in which we live, pain and sorrow and disappointment. We are caught in a world from which we have to wrest our living, only to be taken away from all that we perceive as good or to have it taken from us. This has a cause and it is not God who created all things to be good and beautiful.
As human beings, we have a ways to go before we reach the place where we can claim to be what God made us to be. You see, someone else had a hand in making us like we are now – made us to be less than what God intended that we be. Satan interfered in the development of human beings, leading our earliest ancestors away from wholehearted devotion to God and into sin and the beauty – the holiness – God made us to possess was marred. Everyone has followed them into the same course of action.
But, I believe God still sees the beauty that is in his creation and is eager to restore us to not only our original state of purity and beauty, but to the place of absolute beauty with him in an eternal, renewed creation where all the glory he gave it will shine through. There, all that is imperfect in the world in which we live will have been wiped away along with every tear, every sorrow, every disappointment and the newness and freshness of all that God has made will once again shine through.
David admonishes that people “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor [beauty] of holiness.” Psa. 29: 2.
“God’s holiness is reflected in his beauty and attractiveness. It is his “utterly unique divine essence” (Piper). God’s holiness is his drawing, pulling, tugging splendor (Psalms 29:2, 96:9). For the wicked, God’s holiness is revolting. For the awakened, the great works of regeneration and sanctification bring true spiritual delight to the holy. Piper writes, “The battle to be holy — the battle for sanctification — is a battle fought at the level of what we love, what we cherish and treasure and delight in.” (Tony Reinke, Desiring God).
No, we are not to dwell on the things that hurt and destroy – the things that obscure the beauty that is all around us to behold. This is why we need to keep God’s person and perfection before us and look for the good, the beautiful, the perfection of what he has done and aspire to that. And think of the perfection that will be when our Lord comes again and we will be able to see him as he is! What a day, glorious day, that will be!
Listen:“Everything Is Beautiful”