In 2002, I took a philosophy class on aesthetics. At the time, I didn’t even know what aesthetics was. I just knew that I didn’t have to wake up before 8, and it had a teacher who was rated very highly on rate my professor.
Turns out that aesthetics is the study of beauty. I wish I took better notes.
Beauty is something that I’ve struggled with as far back as I can remember. I’ve prayed, meditated, and acted on things that I thought would bring healing to my very weary mind in this subject. And they did, — but I’m still in process.
What has become beautiful to me lately though is to witness moments of transformation. Don’t we all love that? Bell kisses the Beast and he’s magically transformed into a prince, or Cinderella is transformed by her fairy God mother, or the Princess and the Frog are transformed by putting love before selfishness. Heck, even Shrek is transformed, just not physically. It’s why we cry at the TV while watching Extreme Makeover and the Biggest Loser. Transformation captures a moment of beauty — an aspect: it helps people become the better person they know they can be. It’s fruits are joy and peace. And it’s healing to our soul.
But right before transformation — right before beauty grips your heart so tightly that you can barely breath, is a moment of despair. There’s a crisis, a climax if you will.
It reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11 when God offer his great promise —
I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
That verse comes three-fourths through one of the most depressing books in the bible. And it’s placed in the middle of three chapters that are all out overwhelming. It is placed where the people of Israel were told by Jeremiah that the that the oppression they were under was going to get WORSE, not better. That they were going to have to wait 70 years before things would get better. Whoa. But God gives this promise: I will bring you back to freedom, back to a place that you can rest, back to the future that you’ve been dreaming for.
What a moment of transformation. You have to imagine people just being so weary and receiving that Word. You have to see them sitting in the dust, heads slung low, and then hearing that and perking up.
I mean, if Jeremiah would have said “it’ll all be over in 70 years,” that would be one thing. But the God of the Universe not only answers their question of when they won’t be in torment any longer, but He gives them a guide, promises them an amazing future, and also promises not to leave them. Not for one second. And that even if they are wicked, He won’t destroy them. They will be HIS people and He will bring them honor. Talk about an extension of beauty. Talk about a moment where you’re on the edge of your seat. That’s a transformation moment.
Caught up in the option of choosing to live under oppression or choosing to believe that God will get me through — love me, lead me, protect me, and provide for me — I’m choosing to change my attitude and go with God every time. Because as much as I have fought it in the past, I’m now at a place where I’m unashamed to say that I need something beautiful. I need God’s will and God’s plan. I need to be God’s. I need that love.