What is beauty and what does it do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I have been reading a book by N.T. Wright about worship. At the start, he asks us about many things we consider beautiful. He talks about a home-cooked meal with taste and smell, holding a child’s hand, sights of nature, and other things. He asks us to think about what is the most beautiful experience we have had in this past week. I thought the question had an easy answer.
My wife, Allie.
On this Earth, there is no more beautiful sight to me in the world than my wife. There are many sights I would love to see in this world. Jerusalem, Niagara Falls, the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and Sphinx, The Mona Lisa, you get the idea. None of those wonderful works though compare at all to my Princess. I would much rather see her any day of the week.
As a husband also, I get exclusive rights. That beauty of hers tells me that I am trusted in a way that no other man is. I am unique. To get back to Wright, he asks us to think about what effect this beauty has on us. The beauty is amazing. It makes me want to be a better man. I am left with awe and amazement.
It would be tempting to look at myself and get prideful about it, but strangely, that is not a temptation at all. I could hypothetically say “I must just be so awesome if Allie trusts me this much.” It’s not like that at all. I have no delusions that if Allie didn’t know me and she saw me out in public that she would immediately be saying “Oh wow! That’s him! That is the man that I want!”
Yet today, that is exactly what she says.
That doesn’t lead me to pride. It leads me instead to humility. It leads me to want to be a better man just to somehow think I am worthy of this great honor my wife has given. Her beauty often leaves me walking with an extra swing in my step and able to overcome many of the struggles I have with Aspergers.
Being on the spectrum, diet has always been something difficult for me. Not only was I not changing, I didn’t really want to change. Nope. I was happy where I was. Then Allie came along. Allie did get me to change, and she never really pushed at all for me to change. I wasn’t a project. Allie just loved me and her love and beauty won me over so that the change came from within and I wanted to change and wound up changing.
Many men could say similar things about how their wives lead them to change and I wish that so many wives would realize this. What you see in the mirror is not normally what your husband sees. It is so painful on a husband when a wife denies compliments of beauty. We never want you to have shame around us.
And while I think Allie’s body is beautiful, the beauty somehow goes beyond that. My idea of beauty has been shaped by Allie and I have found her to be more beautiful over the years. The same has happened in reverse. At the start, there was nothing in me physically that made her want me. Now there is. Whatever physical changes I go through, I will still be the man that she wants.
Now let’s talk about this with God. We don’t often think about God as beautiful and that’s a problem for us. We don’t really know what it means to think that way. Can I say God is beautiful in the same way that Allie is? Absolutely not.
What about Jesus? Jesus is God in the flesh. Again, no. Especially not as a man. This is also why I balk at many worship songs that seem to present Jesus in this kind of light. Guys don’t normally talk about Jesus as beautiful like that.
Yet I cannot deny the beauty of God. At the same time, I don’t think it has sunk in. After all, if we find something is beautiful, we desire it. We pursue that which we think is good, true, and beautiful. Something I have often told my wife is I know what she really wants by what she chases after. The same can be said of me and all of us. If God is the greatest in my life, are my pursuits showing that?
This could be why worship is so hard on us at times. We talk about attending a worship service at church instead of living life as worship. A friend of mine does music of this sort and has told me a great quote he heard where a worship leader of youth was asked if he could tell if the kids were really worshipping or not. He said it was easy to tell. If the way they lived when they left mirrored what they sang about in here, then they were worshipping.
And if we are really worshipping, we should experience change in our life. The beauty of my wife draws me to her. It makes me want to experience her and know her more and have more of her. Does the beauty of God have the same effect on me? Am I drawn to Him? Do I want more of Him?
Is God really appealing to me?
It’s also important to realize it’s hard to put a finger on why something is beautiful. We men can easily talk about what we love about our wives’ bodies, but why? What makes her so beautiful? God designed a woman’s body in such a way to drive her man absolutely wild, but why is it that way? I agree the human female form is the most beautiful creation, but why is that so?
And so it is with God. I do not know. I could try to speak of Him as beautiful in some way that appeals to the senses, but that won’t work since God is not material. At the same time, He’s not just an idea. Physicists and such can talk about beautiful equations. Do I think God is beautiful or is it just God as an idea is beautiful?
All of this has left me with a lot to think about, which is something I like about Wright’s books. They always leave me thinking. If you wanted clear and definitive answers, I cannot give them this time. That’s not always my purpose in blogging. It’s not to tell you what I think always, but to get you thinking about what I’m thinking about if you think it’s worthwhile. If one person gets thinking more about the pursuit of God in His beauty, it will be enough.