Mary Helen and I often comment about the beauty spread around us. A stunning sunset. The changing array of wildflowers. The soft green of tree leaves whispering in the breeze. The birds that inhabit our world. Each species of bird has a distinct personality and dress. The friendly black-capped chickadees keep us entertained all year as they flit from feeder to forest. The robins scold us whenever we come near their nest.
But this year, more than any, we’ve been blessed by the unusual variety of beautiful birds visiting our bird feeders. By hanging out orange slices, we’ve enticed a pair of the Baltimore orioles to nest nearby. Although very skittish, their stunning orange dress catches our eye whenever they raid the hummingbird feeder. Their chatter echoes from the woods.
The bright blaze of scarlet on the rose-breasted grosbeak and the deep blue of the tiny indigo bunting also arrest our attention. And who does not delight in the brilliant yellow of the goldfinch. Occasionally we catch sight of a red cardinal whistling for its mate or visiting the feeder.
The astounding acrobatics of the hummingbirds entertain us from spring to fall. I’m sure evolutionists can find some reason for the iridescent patch on the male, but I just enjoy the beauty.
We’re not even in the tropics where gorgeous parrots flit through the rain forest and orchids hang from the trees, but even here in a temperate zone, God has touched everything with His artistry. His handiwork is evident in rock crystals, sea creatures, cloud formations, birds, insects and flowers. Such astounding diversity!
If God continues to spread beauty around, in spite of our world being marred by the fall, how much more amazing will be the new heaven and the new earth? A day is coming when this old world will be destroyed. “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness”(2 Peter 3:13). That which has marred our world— sin, pollution, war, thoughtless progress— will be purged from the new universe God will create. Beauty will shine forth without being diminished.
According to Scripture, the most beautiful element of all, besides God, is the beauty of holiness. “Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness”(Psalm 29:2). And so, as we look forward to heaven, and ultimately a renewed earth, we can prepare ourselves by donning the qualities of a holy life so that we may worship God acceptably. (See Gal. 5:22,23) Without holiness we are unable to fully recognize the beauty of God reflected in His creation.
Since He is the source of all this beauty, we should not be surprised when we read in the Scriptures that His God-followers long “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord”(Psalm 27:4). They recognized, as we should, that God Himself must be beautiful beyond measure. Daniel, Ezekiel, and John, among others, caught glimpses of God’s splendor that left them stunned and speechless.
The beauty spread out around us should inspire us to give glory and praise to the Creator, and move us to don the robes of holiness He provides through His Son. We should also look forward to the beauties of heaven.