Our church is going through a series on its core values. So far, we've done truth, worship, transformation and community. This week it was beauty and next week it will be city.
I gotta tell you, I was/am a little stumped on the beauty thing. Everything else makes sense to me. Truth - totally essential. Worship, duh. Transformation - ditto. Community... well, you'd hope a church would uphold community, yes? But beauty? I don't know about that. Beauty as I know it is so subjective. Skin-deep. In the eye of the beholder. I was willing to admit the value of beauty in everyday life but not quite ready to embrace it as a core value for a church.
So I've been praying that the Lord would lay this thing called beauty on my heart and that if there was merit to it as a value, core or otherwise, that He would open my eyes to that truth.
And today I kept thinking about this song we used to sing at my old church. One of the lines went, "In His time/in His time/He makes all things beautiful/in His time." Then I started thinking about what that meant, especially in light of my hearing loss. I had dinner with a friend last night and I was telling her that I was so much more willing to trust the Lord with my friendships (or what I sometimes feel is a lack thereof) and socialization and that I had to come to grips that the life I had in mind for myself (belonging, being part of a regular circle of friends, movie nights, weekend outings, etc) was not the life He had called me to. And then I (embarrassingly) starting tearing up. Dangit, I explained, I'm really more okay with this than my eyes are letting on! :)
So I was just mulling that over today, that maybe the life He has called me to isn't what I had in mind for myself, but that even with my hearing loss, He will make everything beautiful in His time. And that there is a time for everything. A time for friends and a time for loneliness. The writer of Ecclesiastes never specifies just how much time anything should take and I'm grateful. Maybe my time of loneliness is a lifetime and a time of friendship an eternity... in Eternity. But what is so promising about the "Time" passage is that there is a time for everything. If there is a time for tears, then there will be a time for not tears. If there's a time for loneliness, then there will be a time for not loneliness.
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.
I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away."
There's a time for everything and I "cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." His works are too great and unfathomable and marvelous and beautiful for me to comprehend and I can rest in that.
And now, it's time... for dinner. ;)