My flower garden is a mess this morning. My planter of pansies is overrun with grass and weeds due, for the most part, to weeks of neglect.
The daisies and lavender that were so vibrant last week are beginning to tarnish with decay. How quickly the beautiful turns ugly.
Doesn’t life seem like that some days? The beauty of our world choked out by sin, disease, sorrow and death?
In last night’s video, Ann asked the question:
“How do I have the holy vision in this mess? How do I see grace, give thanks, find joy in this sin-stinking place?”
We spent some time in class looking at two scenes from scripture—back-to-back scenes from the life of Jesus found in Luke 9: 28-43. If you missed last night you might want to take a few minutes to read through that passage. I love the contrast in the two scenes and how well they depict life here on earth. The first is a mountain-top experience where the glory of God is so clear, so overwhelming it left Peter babbling. Bless his heart. I can relate. Sometimes God reveals his glory in ways too powerful for words.
But then we descend with Jesus into the valley. No glory here. Simply a desperate father, frustrated disciples and a son caught in the strangle-hold of evil. Where is the beauty? Where is the awe? Yet the result of each scene is the same—two sides to the same coin. Verse 43 tells us “And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.” On the mountain top and in the valley, in the blinding light of glory and in the heavy darkness of evil—they witnessed the awesome power of God.
Can we do that? Can we see God’s face in everything? Even the ugly? The hard? And more importantly, can we give thanks? Or will we hold onto our bitterness, our anger over what seems unfair? Do we gladly accept all that seems beautiful and right from the Lord, but refuse to accept what does not?
“When I choose—and it is a choice—to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposely choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness? Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective—more expedient—than giving thanks?”
In your homework this week you will be asked to do some digging . . . to go on a treasure hunt to find God where you doubt he can be found . . . in the ugly . . . in the painful . . . in the hard. When you’ve done that, when you’ve found the treasure, would you come back and share it with us? I’d love to hear your stories of how God gave you a new perspective—the ability to see beauty in the ugliness of life.
2 Replies to “Finding Beauty in the Mess”
I know the first ugly I have to face today because I have faced it every day this week. I have to travel the country road for a short while to deliver two grandchildren to camp. The dirt clouds my view and sometimes I can not see the car in front of me or if there is a car following me. I watch the dirt cloud always traveling west over lawns, and home, and cars, and fields. There’s the bend in the road and then the driveway to camp, LITs greeting us at the entrance, camp directors dressed in funny hats, excitement in and anticipation in the hearts of those I am delivering – beautiful and they unload and I am smiling because I know that they are going to learn a little more about God at Camp Sonshine today and life is good. The dusty road doesn’t seem so dusty coming back home. A look into God’s face, the possibilities, and I experience the ugly-beautiful.
Love your picture with words, Georganne! Yes, everyday gives us opportunities to notice His beautiful in life’s ugly. And thanks for the heads up on that dusty road; I’ll be traveling it next week. Hooray for summer camp!