A flight into the storm
As the plane edged the advancing wall of a storm, the beauty was apparent – in paradox. The darkness, the tension, the clouds only added to the picture… and here I began to meditate on the relation between conflict and beauty.
Think of someone truly beautiful… think of that person you most admire, whose beauty goes far beyond form to spirit. Now, is that not a person who has come through great conflict, in faithfulness?
Now, think of a kind of beauty that is trustless, whimsical and sickening: think of the false beauty of the Hollywood set, the fakeness of celebrity beauty… something that sickens and kills the spirit, the person gives up something inside to gain and promote that kind of beauty. And what is this person’s relation to conflict? How have they reacted differently in it – if they’ve had much at all?
So, my mind thought of true beauty and the storm, how some people only grow in spirit through the trial, dark clouds only framing the true attractiveness of person. Consider with me this paradox!
What is the relation between ashes and beauty?
What is the connection between mourning and the anointing of joy?
What is the correlation between spirit heaviness and praise?
For these things are linked… these things are linked in the destiny of Messiah, in an image of such beauty that breaks the heart into wholeness: redemption beauty! Our Lord takes the former and gives the latter; and yet, His children know the former… daughters of beauty, sons of destiny, they know the prior conflict!
And so, consider, what does God consider beauty?
Here, He says, “This man has an excellent spirit in him!” There, He says, “Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in the time to come!”
Then, this text came to mind, of what pleases the Almighty:
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,
He has no pleasure in human strength;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear Him,
in those who await His gracious favor.
Ah! And here is the center of the paradox: what does it mean to await His gracious favor, unless it be waiting through conflict, waiting through mourning, waiting through spirit heaviness, waiting through the ashes!
Here is the relation between conflict and beauty: darkness is the crucible of beauty as surely as diamonds are from depths of incredible pressure. Here there is danger, as in everywhere… and yet we confess, as children, “He knows the way that I take, and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold!”
He has a plan, and it is not to harm, but only to give a future and a hope!
Here is the end of the matter, beauty in its fruition through conflict:
And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.
“For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed."
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness – as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations!