I talk a lot about seeing God’s metaphors and looking through His creation. I think this is an important aspect of being an artist and I discussed some of that in my post "What does it sound like?" Not everyone can look at a sunrise and see beyond it into a deeper and longer lasting beauty. We must be given eyes to see beyond what is directly visible into what is invisible. There are some who look at a sunrise and say "behold our beautiful God", while some will say "behold the beautiful sunrise". This is a difference between looking through and looking directly at something.
I believe the purpose of life is to know God, therefore everything we see and experience are illustrations of who He is. It is good to seek wonderful experiences, but the end goal can be more than just the experience itself. Everything that is not God does not last; it all fades. Only God is good and everlasting. All that has been made is good, yet all has fallen from good. What a paradox! This leaves room for only One who is truly good-the one who first created all that exists. He is separate from His creation and remains good and pure. He is the One we seek. The psalmist tells us in Psalm 19 that there are two ways to know God: through His Word and through His creation. He says these created things do not speak, yet we still can hear His voice through them. So how do we find Him? How do we seek Him through creation?
We must have eyes to see the good and bad in all things. We have to discern between the holy and the fallen, the beautiful and the ugly. In everything and everyone there is a mix of good and evil. The only measuring stick we have to determine between the two is the One good God. We hold Him up against all that exists in order to find out what is beautiful. That which lines up in a straight line is good and all else that remains crooked is fallen and in need of redemption. We have to wade through the frustrations of life to find what is beautiful and even if we find the good, this is still not our final destination. Every good thing has been affected by the fall. Nothing here is everlasting.
It is an easy thing to not hold on to evil, but we sure struggle to loosen are grip on that which we find good. Again, the problem is that nothing is purely good except God. It is a gracious thing that God allows darkness and evil to remain. If we only saw good and no evil, we’d think this was our resting place. It’s not. He is our final resting place. It’s as if God tells us: “Come to Me, come to Me…this beauty is not to rest in. It is to experience just enough of who I am to develop a taste for Me. Whet your appetite on My sunrise, My starry nights, the songs of My birds, the loving glances between two people. But don’t attach yourself to these things as they are not your final resting place. Keep going and find Me in them. Be absorbed into a Beauty that lasts.”
When we find the beauty in something, we find an aspect of God. Though He is separate from His creation, the good that does remain is a way He shows Himself in it. There is never nothing going on-something is always speaking to you and there are ways to seek Him in every experience. Life will be hectic and relentless. You will groan and long for the new creation where you’ll know His will clearly, where work frustrations leave, where bitterness evaporates, where love is always present and motivates every action. But for the time being, we have obstacles and struggles. These are not meant to block us from God. It is quite the opposite. These are the things that we must see through and get through. And if we want to gain from them, we must go through them with God in order to find God. This is how we find Life. We discover that Life is not found in the earthly destination or desired outcome, but Life is found in the seeking. It is in the process and movement of seeking God in all these situations. He is the destination. He is the final resting place.
Though seeking Him is quite an adventure and the best part of this life… oh, how I look forward to the day when the veil on all that is good lifts up and Goodness itself is staring me straight in the eye. No longer will I have to wade through rust and ashes to behold true beauty. What is now fallen will fade into a memory. The Diamond will shine pure and bright against the memory of darkness. The evil will no longer be something to endure as it mingles with goodness. It will no longer affect our feelings or physical being-it simply becomes a memory for Good to shine against in complete purity. Just as now, the dark sky remains as a backdrop for the stars to shine and show their beauty, soon the memory of this fallen life will be the backdrop for our bright everlasting life with God.
For now, we seek the metaphors of what is to come in this world and in those great works of art by artists and musicians who saw into a deeper reality beyond what the eye can directly see...