by Heather Bock
Have you ever watched a potter shaping a vessel? The elegant simplicity shaped by gentle hands can be a pleasure to watch. I found this week that our Potter created a colorful insect called a potter wasp and programmed the little creature to make a sweet little pot herself. We have one on our window screen. I did some research (a pastime I love) and discovered she makes this out of mud and saliva and protects her egg in it.
God also made the mud-dauber wasps, which make mud nests on houses that do the same job of protecting their young, but which look like a handful of mud flung on the side of a building. The mud-dauber wasp is proof God didn’t have to create a wasp that makes a cute nest. Why did He?
A lot of days in the spring and into the summer, I come out on my front porch to find one of these little guys:
Maybe you lizards give you the creeps, but I love my gentle anole lizard friend. Along with the geckos on our porches at night, he’s a sentinel protecting our house from all manner of insects. He’s helpful to us, but I find him to be striking, as well. You should see him when he’s courting a female, doing little push-ups and sticking out his pink fan of a throat. His green color camouflages him beautifully in the leaves where he normally hides, and his pink color attracts the attention of the lady lizards, but I can imagine God using some other way to get the job done. Why did He do it in such a beautiful way?
Speaking of courting, don’t get me started on one of my favorite birds, the peacock. You’ve seen pictures, but have you actually-in person-seen one in full array? That is one fantastic bird! You know, God didn’t have to use that kind of marvelous color to make the world work properly. I can imagine the world running just fine in gray-scale.
I was originally struck by this idea while reading a book several years ago (I believe it was in Philip Yancey’s book What’s So Amazing about Grace?). In the book, the author talks about how God didn’t have to put fragrances in flowers. They could have had scents like body odor or simply no perfume at all.
However, God did create very sweet aromas, and of course, I’ve only given a few examples of the millions of beautiful plants, flowers, people, sunsets, etc. that make up our world, some of which we pass by without even noticing, like the wasp’s tiny pot.
Is God the God of utility? Yes–think of how that little pink neck flap helps that emerald anole lizard! But is that all God is?
Remember, in the beginning “Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food” (Gen. 2:9). The trees were useful, yes. They were good for food. However, God added the touch of making them pleasing to the sight as well.
God is the God of beauty. He created beauty, and when we create beauty, we mimic our Father. When we pause our hectic, busy lives and notice the beauty He created, breathing some words of thanks to the Creator, I believe He smiles. I will go so far as to say, when we make ourselves beautiful, arraying ourselves with tasteful, modest, attractive clothing and arranging our hair in pleasing ways, it honors our Father.
Can we go too far with this and start to worship beauty itself over the One who created beauty? Absolutely. Jesus had some harsh words for those who seemed beautiful on the outside but inwardly were full of decay (Matt. 23:27). Does earthly beauty, even the kind God created remain? No, Proverbs 31:30 says that beauty is vain. Strong’s dictionary shows this means it is like a vapour or breath. It isn’t lasting. The beauty of a righteous soul trusting in God should be our first priority.
But don’t forget: God values beauty. Even though it will not last, He filled the universe with it.
After all, He IS beautiful. I long for the day when my “eyes will see the King in His beauty” (Isa. 33:17). Let’s set our eyes on our God of beauty now and do our part to work beside Him in His creation of beauty.
“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD”