“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” – Psalm 90:14
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.” – Matthew 6:28-29
The past few years have been a dark and difficult period for many people. I too, have felt the gloom that at times threatens to overwhelm the heart, mind and soul. But in the midst of this, God has been teaching me how to experience His love and goodness each day. Over the past year or two, I have been taking early morning walks in the small park next to my block, and sometimes at MacRitchie reservoir. As I walk and talk to God, He opens my eyes to appreciate the beauty of His creation all around – the birds with their different colours and birdsong, the trees and flowers in glorious bloom, the wind rustling through the branches and leaves above. As I learn to give thanks to God for each thing that I see, and each sensation that I feel, I begin to appreciate His goodness, love and beauty shown in everyday experiences.
Author John Eldredge talks about this in his book Journey to Desire. “Simone Weil was absolutely right – beauty and affliction are the only two things that can pierce our hearts. Because this is so true, we must have a measure of beauty in our lives proportionate to our affliction. No, more. Much more. Is this not God’s prescription for us? Just take a look around. The sights and sounds, the aromas and sensations – the world is overflowing with beauty. God seems to be rather enamoured with it. Gloriously wasteful. Apparently he feels there ought to be plenty of it in our lives.”
More recently, God has also been showing me that His beauty is also found in another one of His creations – people. For all our imperfections and sinfulness, there is still evidence of His goodness and beauty in each one of us. We are wonderfully made, as Psalm 119:14 says. We need to appreciate that in ourselves, and in those around us. Especially in our families, this may be something we tend to overlook. After years of marriage, we may tend to take our spouse for granted. As a husband, I need to learn each day to express appreciation for my wife and the beauty of God displayed in and through her. We can do the same for each one of our family and friends – giving thanks to God and appreciating them each day.
It is easy to focus on the ugliness and affliction that we see, whether on a personal or interpersonal level, or as a society and the world at large. We see it in our own selfish and sinful nature. We see it in the conflicts we have in the family and outside. We see it in the conflicts in our own society and between nations. And it threatens to overwhelm us, to leave us anxious, cynical, and ungrateful. But God calls us to open our eyes, heart and soul to His beauty, shown in the everyday things and people we take for granted.
By Asst. Pastor Jan Choo