Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giving Thanks for Beautiful Things

A couple years ago my friend and fellow music-lover lent me a CD and introduced me to Gungor. If you've listened to Christian radio for five minutes in the past year, you've probably heard their song "Beautiful Things." If not, here are the lyrics and a link to the song. Listen. You'll like it.

I brought the CD home, tossed the cover on the counter, and eagerly consumed their work. The title track was an immediate favorite. It's sung as a prayer: 
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us.
Later as I was wiping the counter I picked up the CD cover and finally noticed the cover art. It reinforced the song's message and made an unforgettable impression.

I loved it. 

Artist Ben De Rienzo 
The artist does himself a disservice by making it so easy to overlook. But he rewards the close observer.

Look closely and you'll see the flowers, leaves and stems are a mosaic of tiny symbols representing a sin-sick world. But the artist has arranged them so perfectly, you might not notice the horrific things at first glance.

I think it’s a poignant metaphor. 

It seems a lot of life is made up of hardships. Even in striving for good, there is sometimes pain. Jesus himself gave us the guarantee that nobody wants: “In this life you will have trouble…”

Artist Ben De Rienzo

That’s what those tiny images symbolize. The guaranteed trouble. Sometimes it’s our own doing, sometimes the blame falls to others, but sometimes it’s just because we live in a world poisoned by sin.

Thankfully, the story and the picture don’t end with trouble. 

Jesus finished that troubling statement by saying, “Take heart! I have overcome the world." I have sometimes failed to receive that encouragement because I've mistakenly thought He'd magically make all the bad stuff nice. 

And although He can do anything, God is an artist for His glory and our good, not a magician for our comfort and entertainment. He did not promise to abracadabra handcuffs into gumdrops.

Instead, Jesus the Great Artist has an unfathomable way of arranging all that trouble into something beautiful. And when we finally stand back to view the Artist’s work we look to Him and say, “Wow. That’s kind of unbelievable what you did with all that trouble.”

Sometimes I'm too close to the artwork He's making of my life. I see the ugly mistakes, bad decisions and painful loss. And it all seems broken. But the Great Artist takes the broken pieces. He arranges each one so when the work is done, the masterpiece causes careful observers to admire the Artist who’s great specialty is making something beautiful out of something that wasn't.

It’s really just a long way of saying the word redemption. To redeem is to buy back, to exchange, to recover, to convert. And redemption is the great work of God. 

This November, I want to give thanks to the Great Artist for making beautiful things out of dust…even out of us.


  1. I love that song, too. Thanks for the affirmation that God is constantly redeeming the brokenness, even when brokenness eclipses our view of what he's doing.

    1. Yes. Even when we can't see it, He can. Thanks for reading.