Today, I made a startling discovery. I learned that writing from a hospital waiting room is almost like writing from the ocean at sunrise or a snowy mountain peak. The grandeur of nature inspires the most profound and poetic thoughts, but so does the view from a landscape that is emotionally stark and yet so deeply significant.
Isn’t it interesting that beauty and suffering each trigger the same creative response?
The further I walk this road, the more certain I am that my theory is true: there is a beauty in suffering that is not quite like anything else. It’s not a noisy, audacious sort of beauty but rather a makeup off, trappings stripped, down-to-the-syrup loveliness that transcends former expectations and defies human description. It’s secure and peaceful in ways that more traditional beauty is not.
A beautiful forest could be destroyed by a single match.
A perfect relationship can be dismantled by a single conversation.
The perfect day is always fighting the gravity of the clock.
All these things are truly wonderful, and it’s right to enjoy them, but they do come with a hidden-yet-hovering question mark: how much would it hurt to lose this? Beauty in suffering, however, has no risk of ruin. It is already reduced to the loveliest components of life; the fundamental elements of faith.
I think I’m finally beginning to believe that Paul wasn’t offering a pound of flesh when he said that his determined purpose was to intimately participate in the sufferings of Christ. He wasn’t laying down the idea of a lovely life, he was picking it up! Paul understood, and I hope that I will spend my life coming to understand, that the view from the cross really is indescribably beautiful. It is the definition of full joy because there is nothing left to lose and everything to gain.
“For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2
Thank You, Jesus, for bringing me to this vista today. With beeping monitors and hurting people being wheeled past my chair, I have such a clear view of Your heart. I would like to paint this moment on a canvas. I would hang that painting over my couch so that everyone who sees it could behold Your beautiful ways and be free of the fear of suffering. Instead, I will hang it in my heart and hope that they see it in my life.
If you’re suffering today, I am praying for you and believing that He will bring beauty from battle in every way. Please leave a comment or send me an email so Steve and I can pray for you. It is an honor to stand with you in your fight.
In Praise of the Beautiful One,