When Beauty Matters Most
Pat and just a small portion of her awesome family.
This morning, I attended the memorial service of a dear, sweet woman whom I’ve known since I was 6 years old. After the service, I passed a horrific accident that resulted in 2 fatalities. All day Monday, we watched as tornadoes decimated a small town in Oklahoma. Even as we were celebrating kids at our AWANA Awards Monday night, I was looking at images of precious little children being pulled from the wreckage of what was once their school.
These are decidedly non-beautiful things.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. -Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
One of the things I love best about God, aside from all the “standards”, is that He always exceeds our expectations. It would have been enough for God to create a black and white world with a single kind of plant that provided sustenance and served all the purposes that plants have. It would have been enough for God to provide Mankind with the Law and sacrifices to atone for our sins. It would have been enough for Jesus to come at a point in history, live a sinless life, die on a cross, and rise from the dead to save us from our sins. All of these would have been enough. Yet God created a brilliant world full of variety in color and scent and sound. He sent His only, dearly loved Son to this world to save us, and then, when He returned to heaven, God sent His Holy Spirit to walk alongside us as our comforter, encourager, guide, and helper.
God never stops with “good enough.” There is always an abundance in what He provides. He trades our everyday, hum-drum existence for an abundant life.
A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. – John 10:10 (MSG)
During Pat’s service, a fantastic musician named Bob Bennett performed. It was beautiful, and the perfect balm for our sadness. I think the reason we have flowers and music at funerals is because we need beautiful things around us in our sorrow. As a musician and creatively-driven person, I am so glad that God gives us Beauty to restore us, and I am so glad that He Himself is the very essence of beauty. For when my spirit is parched by the unrelenting assault of sin, destruction, loss, and life, I know without hesitation that I can find refreshment in the Beauty of the Lord.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. -Psalm 27:4 (NIV)