Beauty in the Ordinary

“Elijah said to the people, ‘I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.'”

“‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus… And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place… Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’” 1 Kings 18:22; 19:13-16,18

Look over the river valley awash with green, scan for that splash of fall, and catch your breath at the brilliant coal-glow of one spot that warms the heart and every sense. Sometimes, it is hard to find. There is only a splash or two, but their individual glow stands out all the more early in the season, and the cool. We yearn for more, we want every one and everywhere, but there are times that solitary color must burn bright and bold, leading the charge, and change.

At times, we’re lonely in our commitment to faith. We feel we are the only one who is holding forth the light, standing true. We are set apart by the toil or preparation required for a specifically called ministry, and perhaps are wistful at being left out, or having to say no to outside enticements. In these times, God calls His beloveds to be strong, to stand up and out and willingly be the only voice, or example, or naysayer. While people tend to measure us against the perceived masses and public opinion, our communities need that lone light and voice and divine beauty to attract them to the Savior who sees the heart, and is pleased. (1 Samuel 16:7; Daniel 3:13-26)

When we are the one looking, it may take our full spiritual concentration to find, and great boldness to cling to, God’s promised beauty in our ordinary. Busy days, hurt feelings, trying circumstances, exhaustion or exasperation may overwhelm our ability to see beyond, but we can keep looking for the glimpse of His glory. So sweet is the find. The Lord is nigh, brings beauty from ashes, and works good in all things. (Isaiah 61:1-3; Romans 8:28)

What causes us to be timid in our witness and shine? Might God use our very uniqueness, or what we are willing to give up, or speak out, to illumine Christ, make a difference, or begin a movement of change? And how keen is my eye to behold His excellencies in my mundane, and in turn rejoice? (1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:7)

Lord, prompt me to look for Your scattered beauties in the ordinary, then give You all the praise upon beholding them. And help me to do my part in scattering beauty, and standing out with a bit of Your glory, so others might praise You too.

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