That was beautiful

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.  Psalm 27:4
When we go through challenging circumstances, there is often something that we fix our minds on, that we feel is going to make it all better.  It might be hearing a friend’s voice on the phone, a timely answer to prayer, a new idea to pursue, an opportunity to take time for ourselves.  I love it when those things happen.  Or maybe we are looking for a tangible fix that we have long ago realized that without it, we are sunk.  Relief, no matter what the source, is greatly appreciated.
As you read the verse above, do you know what the context is, or do you need to look it up?  Since I have just lifted it out of its surroundings, it has the feel of an emotional and blissful moment that King David was having, like the feeling you get at a movie where the good guy wins and everything works out perfectly, and there’s the swelling of the soundtrack in the background.  Here are the first three verses:
The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?  When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, {Or to slander me} when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
and then verse 4 again:
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Is it just me, or does verse 4 not seem to be in the flow of things?
I instead expect King David to explain in vs. 4 how the Lord made him triumphant.  It’s like he honestly surveys the terrible things around him, declares his trust in the Lord, and then turns his head sharply to tell us what is REALLY on his mind.
In verse 4, we are whisked away suddenly from the chaos, to a very quiet and solemn place.  A Holy Place. Instead of seeing the faces of anger and hatred pursuing King David, we are looking at…..Beauty.  It’s not what we are expecting, but exactly what we are needing.
So…..I have a dilemma.
As I write about the beauty of the Lord, I am aware that I don’t even know what I am talking about.  And yet I am a big fan.  It’s now what I would rather experience than having every one of my prayers answered.
The beauty of Jesus crushes every distraction and hurt, rejection and betrayal,  accusation and disappointment.
The first time I realized this, it was unbelievable to me.  I was afraid of it; it was too amazing, too powerful, too….personal. Not only was I very aware of how intimately the Lord knows me and knows exactly what melts my heart, but He was revealing His own heart to me as well.  As we all know, it is a risky thing to self-disclose.  It is no less risky for the Lord; do you think He does not feel the sting of rejection from us? Which is exactly what I did at first, not realizing what I was doing.

I am reminded of the matching game many of us played as kids, turning over the pieces to find the identical characters.  In real life, when we encounter people, we often do not know what to expect, and often our experience with that person does not match what we were looking for.   As imperfect humans, we never know what we’re going to get.

With the Lord, His every representation of Himself is beautiful. Not necessarily our definition of beauty , but THE definition of beauty.

Recently I flipped over one of those “game pieces” during a mundane daily task and unknowingly encountered the Lord.   He showed up not in a way that I could see with my eyes, but I knew suddenly that He was there.  He was Speaking.  He was smiling, and gesturing.  “Here you go!” is what He said, and I knew exactly what He was talking about.

That was beautiful.

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9 comments

  1. It is no easy thing to catch a glimips of God’s beauty in the midst of some of the ugliness of life. But, when we finally look up and see the horizon and see Jesus coming to us in our rocking boats on our stormy seas we start to realize that the beauty of the Lord is more than what meets the eye. It is an inward beauty that expresses itself in contentment and joy. And, “the joy of the Lord is [our] strength.” Thanks Jen!

  2. In my bible study this week, we discussed this exact verse and how the beauty of the Lord summarizes all of his amazing attributes such as wisdom, perfection, goodness, love, mercy, faithfulness, and holiness…just to name the ones that came to mind. It has really made me think about all the ways he shows His beauty to me on a regular basis, so apparently He wanted us both to spend some time meditating on this right now.

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