The other day while I was studying at a coffee shop, the most adorable, little girl caught my eye; a rosy cheek, button-nose child with long flowing hair walking gaily about without a care in the world. As I returned to my laborious studies, to my delight a smile visited my face.
Nothing like beauty fills the heart with awe and wonder. Often when I travel the road I find myself captivated by the marvel of Mother Nature clinging to her terrestrial complexion. Other times my eyes may behold a woman so fair it feels as if the world should pause so I may admire the discovery. Or, she is like a passing fragrance. Such was the time when I visited a church during my stay in Canada, and I was left with poetry and a call to worship.
Journal Entry October 2004,
My eyes noticed the girl running the snack shop. By the looks of her maturity she must have been a college girl helping out as a youth leader. Not the most important assignment, feeding kids, but she handed out purchased candy and drinks with a visible joy. I was a visitor, so it was only natural for her to have curiously glanced at me, and as she did I caught myself thinking, “My, isn’t she lovely.”
Just another pretty face, I suppose, and so I casually distracted myself.
I sat down in the back row as any self-conscious newcomer would, and sitting in front of me, three chairs to my right, sat the mysterious snack shop girl. The audience was asked to stand for praise and a fuller glimpse of her beauty would unfold. She stood as a pillar, robust in spirit. Wavy, dark-brown hair adorned her head as does a willow tree that supplies shade to the weary. The neighboring teen girls followed her lead as she urged them on by the radiance of her smile. She offered herself unabashed as an instrument of praise, singing melodies full of grace, and swaying to the rhythm of the lone guitar. Her countenance was brilliant as a north star. Soft, high cheeks settled on her gentle face complemented by eyes so soft they spoke of innocence and play. No longer common; the pretty face was now clothed with a glowing spirit of Christ.
The girl remained nameless for the rest of the evening. It was only a visit. I did not leave empty-handed, however; for she had gifted my imagination with beauty and praise for a God whose own beauty transcends all things.
You can pluck a flower in the middle of a wasteland and while under its spell almost forget the existence of the ugliness and desolation that surrounds you. Beauty has a power to blur reality and expose imitation; to scramble the intellect and stump the eloquent; to weaken convictions and reform the barbaric. That is the power of beauty. Ultimately, beauty is a call to worship because it draws your heart to gratitude in the Creator of all beautiful things.
I find it increasingly difficult to understand what beauty must mean for a biblical man in a perverse age whereby society has profaned the art of admiration into a form of lust. Just as beauty has the power to make the world feel beautiful amidst decay, lust too has an inverse power to bind all that is pure and trash it into the gutter; and your whole world consequently feels ugly and dirty.
God designed beauty as a call to worship Him, yet instead, vanity and the erotic has become our idol. In the entertainment business sex sells, and it weans its children to suck the fat of sensuality. No longer are men made content by beauty to be happy–they must also be horny. Women are body parts and men the whore mongers. The sacredness of human sexuality has been defaced by a porn industry that profits more than 13 billion dollars annually. It scares me to think how badly damaged and irreparable our sensitivity and respect of beauty has become. I shutter to admit that I too need healing by the washing of His word.
The world offers a counterfeit of beauty. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes is not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:16). Girls prostituting in any trade of sensuality is a sad thing; sadder still is the struggle of men to not look upon any girl of beauty as an object for their own fantasies. Depravity is most active in imagination.
To see the world as the world would have us is to become people without beauty. The only way for a biblical man to restore a theology of beauty is to see the world through the eyes of the Holy Spirit—beauty, and the admiration of it, looks like righteousness.