fighting bitterness with beauty, god's majesty, theology

Fighting Bitterness With Beauty

Some seasons of life are filled with exuberant jubilation; each day provides exciting opportunities and the Lord seems to grant every request. Then there are times where it feels like nothing goes right, prayers appear to go unanswered, and evil seems to prevail. The never-ending tsunami of bad news is suffocating, and time stands still in the situations you just want to escape. You feel as if you’re in cursed Narnia where it’s always winter but never Christmas. While such seasons are a part of life, if we’re not careful they can cause bitterness to take root (Heb. 12:15).

How can we fight frustration and keep bitterness from completely drowning out hope? One of the best antidotes is to revel in the beauty of the Lord. Taking time to notice his beauty as it is revealed in his Word and in creation reminds me of the power and majesty of God that’s easy to forget in dark times.

God’s Beauty In His Word

It’s easy to overlook God’s beauty when I rush through his word just to check it off my list. But, those days when the Spirit awakens me to the powerful truth of what I’m reading, I slow down enough to take in the wonders of our majestic God. I’m amazed by his powerful word in speaking everything into existence in Genesis. Reading Isaiah 40 overwhelms me with the power of his majesty as he measures the waters in the hollow of his hand and weighs the mountains on a scale. His creativity is on full display when I read about him giving speed to the ostrich and commanding the eagle to mount up in Job 38-40. The gospels highlights the compassion and mercy of Jesus for broken sinners, and also his stern warning for the self-righteous. I’m overcome with joy and longing as I read in Revelation 21 about the new heavens and the new earth where one day Christ and his church will dwell together forever. Savoring the beauty of God in his word refocuses my heart on what’s good and true and keeps me from plunging into the sea of bitterness.

God’s Beauty In Creation

His beauty is also on display through creation. I get a glimpse of God’s majesty by gazing at the tall pine trees reaching to heaven in praise. The power of a storm overwhelms me as the lightning crackles across the sky followed by the heart-stopping boom of thunder. I see his creativity as I watch our chickens use their feet as a rake to move the leaves that shield the delicious critter-snacks below. I get a sense of his protection as I watch my wife nurture our children and bandage their wounds. The wonder in the eyes of my three-year-old as I read him a story challenges me to have the same wonder at the greatness of our God, whom we cannot completely comprehend in this sin-filled world.

In the days when frustration calls and bitterness looms, look afresh to God’s word and his creation for glimpses of his beauty, power, and majesty. Basking in the glory of God doesn’t always change my circumstances, but it often changes my disposition and the attitude of my heart. Being reminded of the glory and power of God helps me to see that he has a plan that he is able to execute. Don’t let the bitterness and frustration overwhelm you, but let God’s beauty stir your heart to worship, even when you don’t understand.

 

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