The painting caught my eye like a beacon. Displayed along a long hallway in a big city hospital, its deep pastel hues and Navajo Native American figures were so arresting I stopped to marvel and stare. “Look at that,” I said to my husband, Dan.
He was walking ahead but I hesitated, bypassing other paintings on the wall to gaze only at that one. “Beautiful,” I whispered.
Many things in life are beautiful indeed. Master paintings. Scenic vistas. Inspired crafts. But so is a child’s smile. A friend’s hello. A robin’s blue egg. A seashell’s strong ridges. To relieve the burdens life can bring, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In such beauty, Bible scholars explain, we get a glimpse of the perfection of God’s creation—including the glory of His perfect rule to come.
We can only imagine such perfection, so God grants us a foretaste through life’s beauty. In this way, God “has also set eternity in the human heart” (v. 11). Some days life looks drab and futile. But God mercifully provides moments of beauty to ponder.
The artist of the painting I admired, Gerard Curtis Delano, understood that. “God [gave] me a talent to create beauty,” he once said, “and this is what He wanted me to do.”
Seeing such beauty, how can we respond? We can thank God for eternity to come while pausing to enjoy the glory we already see.
How do you respond to the beauty God has placed in this world? How does beauty reflect Him?
The book of Ecclesiastes provides little clue to its date, but the author—“the Teacher” or “Preacher”—is by most believed to be Solomon, “son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1). Yet others believe the author could well be an editor-author writing of the lessons of Solomon’s life in the tradition of wisdom. What is the book’s purpose? Michael Eaton in his commentary on Ecclesiastes states, “It defends the life of faith in a generous God by pointing to the grimness of the alternative.” He summarizes the Preacher’s purpose as “to drive us to see that God is there, that he is good and generous, and that only such an outlook makes life coherent and fulfilling.”