The Beautiful Life
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
As I meditate on this verse I find myself considering the beauty of life, and primarily the reality that only in a theistic universe can life truly be understood as beautiful. In context Paul is describing the faithfulness of the Spirit in assisting us in our weaknesses, even in prayer, but in this particular verse Paul temporarily transcends the concept of inner weakness in order to take in an examination of how God assists us in moments where our weakness is the product of external pressures. In moments of tragedy, loss, suffering, difficulty, and uncertainty. Paul injects a revelatory bit of hope drawing from his own experience with the suffocating and isolating darkness of suffering. In our helplessness through the faithful love of God we find help.
The only way life can have any intrinsic meaning is if behind the cosmos exists a Being of unsurpassing greatness and benevolence. Without Him, there is no meaning, no purpose, no value. Nothing but blind natural forces and the motion of particles. Any meaning one would attempt to ascribe to their existence becomes illusory, a phantom they concoct with which to haunt the deep void at the center of their being.
But if we find behind the cosmos this Being, then life is intrinsically meaningful, bursting with intention and purpose, and therefore we can gaze with new vision upon the wonder of creation, and through it, we can discover beauty everywhere.
Those who know Him, and have called Him Abba, know what it is like to experience the beauty of this life, and the beauty of the Creator, most profoundly in their moments of extreme tragedy and suffering. It is natural for the theist to find beauty even in such awful suffering because it is in the throws of such wretchedness that Paul's encouragement becomes a reality in our own lives.
When we are twisted up with sorrow, contorted in violent angels due to the rage of our hurt, we are met by Another. We are met by One who truly sees us, understands our pain, and experiences it with us, not merely gazing upon us from a distance. He comes to us, comforting us, assuring us, strengthening us, listening to us, guiding us, and loving us. He meets us uniquely in those moments, demonstrating that even our suffering is interwoven with meaning. The beauty in these dark and sad places is often hard to spot when one is in the thick of it. But upon reflection we begin to see it. In those moments of loss and pain, we see a Father committed to us, not willing to allow the clammy hands of depression and hopelessness to drag us under. We see Him stooping down to lift our fragile form into the restorative rays of His affection and care.
When we come out on the other side we may have earned some scars, but with them we also obtain an understanding of our value to Him. We see the lengths to which He is willing to go in order to nurture us and care for us. We find in the moment of our unraveling that a new bond is forged and strengthened. A bond of intimacy, of trust, and confidence in the care of our Abba.
Being a Christian frees us to look for beauty, for signs of His divine grace, in literally everything under heaven. For He is there, and if you look you will find Him, laboring in love to work all things together towards a favorable outcome for those whom He has placed His name upon.