God was at it again as I was driving to church this morning. It was early, the sun just coming up. There were all different kinds of clouds but the ones that caught my eye were long and thin, like the layers of a Kit Kat bar. The colors were magnificent pinks, yellows and oranges with the blue sky peeking out here and there. But the thing about this beauty God gives us is that it doesn't always last long. Those beautiful clouds were gone within five minutes. Farther north in the sky there were different clouds, again tinged with pinks, yellows and oranges. Blue sky showed here and there around the edges. These clouds were much bigger, fluffier and just as spectacular. They too disappeared within minutes. It was a glorious way to begin what became yet another great confirmation Sunday.
But I started thinking. God makes these pictures and then they are gone. It reminded me of the etch-a-sketch my brother and I had when we were kids. He was much better at making pictures than I was. I have trouble tracing around a jar and ending up with a circle! Anyway, if you had one of these toys you know you made a picture and if you wanted to keep the picture you carefully set the toy down. If you didn't like it all you had to do was shake the etch-a-sketch and the picture disappeared and you were ready to make a new one. Perhaps God has an etch-a-sketch of His own. He makes pictures for some of us to see, then shakes the etch-a-sketch and makes another. That way folks who get up a wee bit later get a beautiful scene too.
God does this all day. He gives us beauty...all day long. And I bet most of us don't even notice. Because we look down or maybe straight ahead, but not up. The sky is God's biggest canvas. All day today, with the wind, clouds of different shapes scuttled across the sky. In Psalm 19 we read this. ”The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.” You see, everything God has created is made to give Him praise. From the vastness of the heavens to the hummingbird that flits here and there, flashing its beautiful colors. Picture a chameleon, changing colors to blend in with its surroundings. They are like a moving picture show as they change from one color to the next, each color a shout out to the creator who gave them life.
The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11. Here is something to think about. We can look at our lives as a huge collection of etch-a-sketch pictures. We spend more time in some places because they are good, peaceful or beautiful. Other pictures we try to get rid of as soon as they come. That does not always work. BUT, all of God's creation is beautiful. From God's perspective, there is no ugliness in the events of our lives. I know some of us would beg to differ. We will find peace in our lives not because the picture changes. We will find peace in our lives not because the circumstances change. We will find peace because He dwells within. His picture supersedes what we see because what God sees is the completed picture. He has control of the nobs on the etch-a-sketch. We just get to see part of the picture.
We say that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. When God looks at you and me, when He beholds us, He sees beauty. Beauty like the sunrise this morning. Beauty like the greens of the plants and the blues of water and sky. Beauty like the picture of people walking hand in hand, enjoying what God has given them. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. Some people look at a child who is not 100% whole. They do not see beauty. They see flaws, challenges, disgust. God sees beauty and so do the child's parents. Because our beauty is not the outside of us. Our beauty comes from within. My father used to say beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes clean through to the bone! He always had a way with words. “But the Lord said to Samuel, do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7. God spoke these words to Samuel as he was looking at Jesse’s sons, one of whom would replace King Saul. The one most people looked at as insignificant was the one God chose...the runt of the sons...David, who would become king.Because God didn't look at the outside. He looked at the heart. He does the same with you and me.
I know many of us look in the mirror in the morning. Our hair goes 63 different directions. We have crease marks on our faces from the sheets. We do not look like we are prepared for the day and we certainly do not look like the world will see us later. But God looks at us after He has given us a night's rest and He sees nothing but beauty. In fact, when He looks at us, we who are created in His image, what He sees is very good.
God will continue to make pictures for us. They will change all the time, so we continue to pay attention. He will continue to create beauty for us to enjoy. And He will always look at us and see precious sons and daughters, made in His image. And we are beautiful.
In His grip
Pastor Matt W