"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11
Everything that God has made is beautiful. Think about that. This week as I sat at the swimming pool with my kids for their swimming lessons, I was thinking about how if there was one place to challenge a person's thought life- a pool was it. So many people in so many bathing suits... need I say more? It can be really challenging to look at someone and not think about how they're wearing the wrong suit for their body shape. And yet, everything that God has made is beautiful. Everything! Which means that person you saw a short while ago, looking terribly unfortunate, is absolutely stunning in the eyes of the God who created them. As I've been thinking these things this week, I can't help but wonder if our human thought processes are messed up. And just as we try to build up our faith by declaring things that are not as though they are, maybe when we see someone or something not beautiful, we should start declaring them beautiful. As we do that more often, maybe we'll begin to see through God-colored glasses, and we'll see the same beauty that God sees in all His creation.
As I move on in this verse this week, though, look at that second part, the part where it says that God has set eternity in the hearts of men. What does that mean? Let's take another look, only this time in the Amplified version.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP)
The idea of eternity has been planted within us to give us the drive and passion each and every day to get up and go one more time. We all have our purposes- our reasons for living. Right now, my purpose, every day when I get up is my children and my family. What are we going to do today together, what are we going to do today to better ourselves. I am a completely satisfied wife and mother, and yet... there is something there that still feels like there is something wanting. We can have everything in the world at our fingertips, but without God, it is all meaningless. Our purpose is to go through life becoming more and more like Jesus everyday so that one day we may get the chance to stand (or fall) in the presence of God Almighty.
That IS a really difficult mindset to undertake. It's so tough sometimes to stop focusing on all the things that are going wrong or need improving and trust in the idea that God really is enough for us. You know, when you have a stack of bills piled on the desk, and not enough coming in to pay them, and then you hear a message about relying on God... it can make one snarky, because I know that God sees the stack of bills, and yet He wants us to just trust in Him. He wants us to praise Him in the worst of times, which always starts out like a great idea, but I'll tell you, every time that happens, my mind starts to wander. I'll be praising God, joyfully, and all the sudden, a dire monetary need will just drop into my head from nowhere and totally wreck the praise experience I was in the middle of. One minute praise and joy, and the next minute, worry and self-reflection. I still haven't figured out the answer to that one, but I do find it helpful to recite some scripture. Lately I've been starting with a verse in Matthew.
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life" Matthew 6:27
And this all comes full circle because there is a really big secret here. People who worry all the time, who focus on their problems and trying to solve them, aren't very beautiful. When we are focused on Him and when we can rely on Him to meet our needs and give us peace, we reflect that peace on our faces. We reflect the beauty of the Lord from the inside out. People who worry all the time just look worried, and crabby, and they can be the prettiest person, but that worry and anxiety reflects poorly and makes them look less beautiful. Yet God created all things to be beautiful. So there is a conclusion to be drawn here- worry does not equal beauty. When we can set that worry aside, when we can, instead, purpose to let Him satisfy our every need, we will reflect the beautiful nature that God already put inside of us- just waiting to be awakened.
No, we cannot really fathom what God has done for all eternity. The mere idea of eternity doesn't make sense in our limited human minds. But while we're waiting for the revelation that helps us understand eternity a little better, we can focus on Him and let Him make us the most beautiful people we can be.
It's a short week here for me this week. Sorry about that, I go away for a week of vacation and then come back and give everyone a short week of posting here. It's conference weekend, so time is short, but I'll be back Monday morning with all sorts of goodies to share. If you have the inclination, you can check out our conference online- as we stream it live each and every day. Go here to our church website, and click on "Watch services live" in the left-side menu. And here is a link to the conference schedule so you know when to tune in- all times are Central Standard Time. Have a great weekend, I'll see you on the flip side.