Beauty; June 16, 2020

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.

This is a very famous snippet of Scripture, made into a well-loved song, but the Japanese translation puts a different slant on it. It says, “Everything God does is beautiful in its time.” Frankly, not everything man does is beautiful, ever. Riots and murder and theft and a whole host of other things are ugly whenever and however they occur. The twist is that God can use even very ugly things for blessing, if they are released to Him. (Romans 8:28) The thing itself can be ugly indeed, but God can bring beautiful things out of it if we will trust Him fully. In the middle of the ugliness, that level of trust can be very difficult. Right now America is in the middle of a very trying time, to put it mildly. The ugliness of the slow, deliberate murder of George Floyd, captured on video, is something you can’t unsee, however much you might want to. I had to turn the playback off after only a few seconds because I already knew the outcome, and it was too horrible to keep watching. Frankly, the video of Sadaam Hussein being hung was much easier to watch, though that too was ugly indeed. The bigger tragedy comes, however, when ugliness begets more ugliness. Demonstrations on behalf of justice can be beautiful, but rioting, looting, and arson are without excuse. God can bring good and beautiful things out of the current mess, but only as people turn to Him in humility and repentance. If they – we – will do that, He will indeed give us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)

For many years my counseling has included the statement, “God can use even this for good, if you will release it to Him.” Sometimes that’s been believed and received, and sometimes not. I have seen God do amazing things in some pretty horrible situations. I have seen people be healed, and I have seen people die in peace, with the assurance that their death was just physical. I have seen relationships restored, and I have seen hurts released. Often, the good that God has worked has not been what I expected or even wanted, but He alone sees the end from the beginning and knows all the potential side effects of everything. Recently there have been prophecies that have been exciting, and prophecies that have tested my faith. I am to be faithful in my moment-by-moment obedience, so that the result will be God’s beauty and nothing less. I have loved Jesus’ statement that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) for many years, and God has told me personally to rest, relax, and rejoice, but following through with that can really stretch my faith at times. I am to choose to trust and obey, whatever is going on, because as the hymn says, “There’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.”

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all that You are doing, even in the middle of the ugliness. Help me see Your beauty and rejoice, whatever the devil and my flesh are telling me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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