Thursday, July 5, 2012

Of Beauty and Grace

Why am I writing this post? Hmmm, I don’t really have a solid answer to that. Maybe because I feel like writing. Maybe because it’s on a subject that I have come to think about every day lately. Maybe just because I see how good God is and I have to talk about it. Or maybe for a whole long list of other reasons. That doesn’t really matter, I suppose.
This isn’t normally the kind of post I do on my blog. I don’t like to seem like I think I am in a position to instruct/teach anyone. So, really, this post is as more for me to write down something I’ve thought about lately. And have good reason to think about… Beauty.
Is that something you think about all the time? When you step outside and are met by a cool breeze and the warmth of the sun on your face while birds sing their melodies in the trees and blue sky, do you stop to think about how beautiful it all is?
Or on a clear night when the stars are shining like pinholes to Heaven, do you look up and marvel at their grandeur and overwhelming tranquility?
How about when you pass by a flower? Or even when a storm comes, bringing with it sheets of rain, peels of thunder and flashes of lightning? Ever stop to think how beautiful that can be?
Beauty is all around us, every day of our lives. Not just in the majesty of creation but in the gifts of grace given to us by our Lord, Christ Jesus.
Think about it. All the gifts in our life that are so, so beautiful and so present that we often forget to stop and take in their beauty. Music. Religious freedom. Food. The right to dream. Hope. And countless others.

Family and friends. Think about them. What do they mean to you? If you’re anything like me, family and close friends give you earthly reason to live. God uses them to give you hope, faith, belief etc. If you’re anything like me…there will never be anything more beautiful in your life than family and close friends. And yes…it is true that they are what can bring the most acute pain in this life, also. But it’s next to ugliness that beauty shows the most. It’s next to despair that hope shines brightest. It’s next to fear that belief and trust are most clear.

There is pain in this world, but it’s because of the pain that we know the beauty is real when it comes. And it’s by the grace of Christ that that beauty comes. We know that we all deserve far worse that we ever get on this earth and yet Christ, in His mercy, sees fit to give us beauty? It’s mindboggling! Why? Because He is good.
Beauty comes from grace. Beauty is grace. What does beauty/grace look like then? I don’t think there is one answer to that. It looks different to every person. Anything you value more than yourself…more than your own life, so long as it is wholesome and God honoring, is beautiful. What do you picture right now when you think of the beauty of grace in your life? What image comes to your mind? And now…how often do you stop to think about not just that thing, but how beautiful it is to you? What a symbol of grace it is? And it can be more than one thing, of course. But often, there is one, shining beacon of beauty and grace for people. How often do you stop, think and pray…thank God for that/them? When I get to thinking about that, I can’t stop thanking God. Because I have seen what non-beauty looks like. I’ve felt the knife of pain, despair…even darkness. But God, in His grace, has put beauty into my life like I never thought possible. Does that mean that life is now always fields of roses? Nope. But! It’s the beauty in every day life…in the life God has made and is making that I see grace overflowing.And it's because of that beauty that we can see what fields of roses look like every now and then. It's because of the grace of Christ in giving us this beauty that we have the will to continue, even through the hardest times.
It’s amazing how you can just close your eyes sometimes and see that beauty and grace there. It’s overwhelming to think how God works. How He can take a sin filled, dark, despairing life and turn it around into something more beautiful than a person could ever have imagined. Doesn’t it make you smile, just thinking about it? I’m smiling as I type. Doesn't it just make you happy? Overwhelmingly happy?
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the moment, so bogged down in a present issue that we miss the beauty that’s all around. How much better life would go sometimes if we would just stop, look around, find something beautiful. Think of something beautiful…think of that beacon of grace and beauty that you thought about a minute ago when I asked what came to your mind and dwell on that for just a minute. Life doesn’t look so bad after all, does it?
Above all of this beauty, the beauty and grace that shines the brightest is the beauty and grace of Christ Jesus, Himself. His sacrifice. His Love. His grace. His hope. His very Being is the essence of beauty and the definition of grace. We have hope because of Him. We have beautiful things because of Him. We have love for others and love for Him…we are loved by others because of Him. We have His love. How much more beauty do you need or even want than that?
So, as you can see…life is so beautiful in so many ways. The beauty of smiles and laughter that comes when talking to family or a friend. The beauty of smiles when all you have to do is think of something. The beauty of the fellowship of your closest circle of family/friends. The beauty of the stars, flowers, sky, ocean, animals, loved ones. The beauty of dreams. The beauty of dreams coming true. The beauty of love. The beauty of hope, faith, belief. The beauty of life.
Isn't is amazing to be able to say, "I am happy and at peace because of the grace of Christ and the beauty He has put in my life."? Isn't it humbling to think of the fact that we don't deserve any of it and yet...we can have it? Isn't it beautiful? 
This whole post/rant/rambling can be summed up in one simple sentence: God is good and life is beautiful. Now that’s some beauty worth fighting for and worth smiling about. Worth living for.

Here's a song that I love that sums up a lot of beauty and grace. Thought it was appropriate for this post and I might as well share it. :)