As I prepared to write this morning my eyes fell upon the delicate leaf crafted from cream on top of my latte.
“Why bother,” I mused as I sipped it into a milk mustache.
“Because beauty matters,” God replied, dropping in on my whimsical thoughts. And instantly my heart recognized truth.
But nothing in this world lasts, I thought back…and nothing fades faster than beauty. A flower wilts in a day. Sand castles wash away with the incoming tide. Sunsets, if you pause long enough to watch them, endure only a moment.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.Isaiah 40:8
And yet who would want to live in a world without beauty? Our souls long for it, pursue it and find refreshment and comfort in it.
Beauty matters because we live in a dark, broken world. And sometimes that darkness threatens to overwhelm the light. Beauty serves as a remnant, a loving reminder that this is not the end. That God is at work behind the scenes restoring and renewing.
See, I am doing a new thing!Isaiah 43:19
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland
This was the verse that God whispered over and over to me in the midst of the darkest season of my life. It was his promise. It kept me trusting him even when I couldn’t see anything but dark, no signs of beauty around me.
And this is how God’s story has unfolded in the lives of humans throughout history. Our God, the light in the darkness.
Did you ever think of how Noah must have felt looking out from the ark at a world that had forsaken God? I imagine tree trunks snapped in two, littered across a dull, lifeless landscape. But then out of the gray emerged a glorious rainbow.
Stripped of worldly beauty, his “multi-colored dream coat” destroyed, unjustly imprisoned and ripped away from the father he loved, God revealed unimaginable beauty in the life of Joseph. He restored his family and used his experience to save his people from famine.
The Israelites went from the frying pan of slavery to the fire of a desolate desert. And yet God promised and ultimately delivered them to “a land flowing with milk and honey.” That very description evokes images of lush, fertile land brimming with natural beauty.
When he walked the earth Jesus did not display physical beauty. In fact, the Bible suggests his appearance was notably unremarkable:
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,Isaiah 53:2
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Beauty matters to God. The beauty of this world may be fleeting, but it is a reminder of enduring spiritual beauty pouring forth from our Creator–the beauty of life restored, death defeated, brokenness made flawless again.
The beauty God wants us to rest our eyes and souls upon is the hope and promise of Jesus:
In the midst of the lamp stands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.Revelation 1: 13-16
Where will you pursue beauty this day?