We learned this week that if we are to remember our Creator, we must become students of beauty. God Himself is the source of all beauty. He is a God who delights in beauty for beauty’s sake and made the world beautiful, perfect and whole. He built shalom into His original creation, but it was dimmed the moment Adam and Eve sinned. Now we see only reflections of beauty, which leave us longing for heaven.
In a world like this it’s not hard to understand why Instagram and Pinterest have a combined five hundred million users. Who wouldn’t want to apply the most favorable filter, the one that fades out wrinkles or makes us look tan and twenty pounds lighter? Who doesn’t want to pin a hundred gorgeous ways to use shiplap, plant flowers, or convert a barn into a bed and breakfast?
A STRONGER DESIRE
We long for beauty in our everyday lives, and we’re willing to feign it or filter it or pin it if we can’t quite meet the standard. We walk into Sephora “just because” and we roll out an hour later toting the largest bag. We scroll for beauty on our phones while the kids scream and tug at our stained yoga pants. We go to the mountains or the museum or the opera; we sing along with Adele or book a cruise to Tahiti, but after all the stress and planning we sometimes come back feeling wearier than before we left. We long for beauty—fight for it even. But what our hearts really desire is the goodness of God: to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is strong and loving and that He is good to us (Psalm 62:11–12). The beauty of creation points like an arrow to the goodness of its Creator. As we study beauty, we begin to learn about the wonderful character of the God who designed everything to work in such perfect harmony.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak,” wrote C.S. Lewis. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Are there ways in which you may be too easily pleased? Have you devoted yourself to a cosmetic sense of beauty hoping that it would make you feel valuable or complete? List three specific examples from the last week—times when you tried to meet an image or standard of beauty that cannot possibly satisfy.
Now reflect on true beauty—a beauty the biblical authors say comes from God, shining like the sun and expressing itself through shalom: the wholeness, wellness, and completeness of heaven on earth.