It’s cold today. I don’t do cold well. But I have a rare block of time when I don’t have to be drawing at the computer, so I pack up my camera gear and drive to the nearest state park. It has been too long since the Lord and I have gone exploring.
Alone in the park, I’m surrounded by incredible beauty. I take several photos of the landscape, but when I turn to the creek, a subtle detail catches my eye. You can see it in the lower right corner above: the early stages of ice.
Going closer, I’m struck by the intricate, delicate structures. They look like God’s doilies, networks of crocheted crystals.
What I want to do is capture the ice crisply while letting the water blur. This requires a steady camera, which requires a tripod – which I’ve forgotten. But I find a hefty stick to brace my hand. Gingerly stepping out onto snow-covered rocks, I wedge the stick into the creek and focus in on the fledgling formations.
A verse comes to mind:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10
The word for handiwork (poiêma) hearkens back to God’s act of creation. We are God’s hand-crafted artwork (like a poem – or, for that matter, a crocheted doily), created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works.
These ice formations are a perfect picture of this. The rocks seem to be growing crystals, but only where they enter the stream. It’s the water that produces the beauty that adorns them like a necklace of jewels.
Whatever beauty grows in my character does so as I am in Christ Jesus. The more I submerge into the stream of who he is, the more he recreates in me his character and goodness. Just as Paul teaches us that we “put on” Jesus’s righteousness like a beautiful robe, our lives are adorned by the beauty of his nature.
That is, if we are immersed in him, like a rock in the stream.
A line from a favorite hymn says: “Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love.” This is about more than just a daily devotional time (but certainly not less than that.) This is about having my daily life surrounded by his. Being in the flow of his purposes. Sensing his presence – the movement of his Spirit -- at the edge of all that I do.
I am frequently astonished by beauty in nature: colorful skies, a brilliant bird in foliage, patterns of light across a landscape. Jesus is just as glorious in his character: never a false word, never a selfish moment, always transforming people by his love, navigating our broken world with untarnished righteousness and unending grace.
I want that beauty to cling to me. To take shape in and around me.
Jewels of his making.
Lord Jesus, as we submerge into your stream, would you adorn us with your beauty? We want the world to see how amazing you are.
Reader: Where have you noticed the beauty of ice? Have a photo you can share with me?