82145913From “Beauty from the Heart“:

When the trees shudder in the breeze, or a butterfly barely glances your hand, you can feel beauty pull at your heart. You long to be a part of the beauty—to both soak it in and add to it.

Maybe for you, this desire pertains to a musical instrument. Maybe you draw, paint, or write. You might not be artistic at all—but in living out your talents, you long to reach your fullest potential–whatever it might be.

I’ve come to see this desire as a thumbprint of God on our minds. The desire to do something beautiful is there because we were created in His image, and He gets a kick out of beauty. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning explained,

“And truly, I reiterate, . . nothing’s small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars….

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.”

God has crammed the Earth with signs of His nature, reminding us that there is more in existence than taking out the trash, returning books to the library, eating, sleeping and the general occurrences that stuff our lives. But when it comes to imitating that beauty, we don’t do it right all the time. We fail (more often than not) and our minds typically prefer contentment in the mediocre—but the longing to create a masterpiece is a God-thing. Why? There’s an amazing potential for projecting the glory of God in our work.

John Piper wrote something rather shocking on this subject, which I’ve quoted before, but I believe deserves re-visiting. He wrote, “…when a person speaks or writes or sings or paints about breathtaking truth in a boring way, it is probably a sin.” And why wouldn’t it be? Since when was it preferable to slack off, burying our talents, rather than investing our sweat and tears into mirroring God’s love for beauty the best we can?

Piper continued, “The supremacy of God in the life of the mind is not honored when God and His amazing world are observed truly, analyzed duly, and communicated boringly.” Further on he said, “I pray for the grace of imagination, lest I fail to love my fellow man and fail to render Your glory for what it really is…” (Life As a Vapor.)

I wonder what that prayer would look like, played out in our lives.