Thursday, August 28, 2014

Finding Beauty in This Tired Troubled Earth

Back in early August we spent a week in the Florida Keys. The Keys are known for their fabulous sunsets, and we were fortunate to be in just the right viewing spot one evening as we waited on our dinner. I didn't have my good camera with me, just my phone, but it's hard to ruin a spectacular sunset even if you're me.  

Planet Earth feels especially harsh just now. Chaos abounds. We humans have been witness to unspeakable acts of violence. We've seen evil on display in living color, an ocean away yet close to home as the faces of broken children and journalists flash across our screens. It doesn't feel an ocean away. 

In our own country riots and looting and destruction of property in the name of peace? 
I don't pretend to understand. 

It's not just the big picture that hangs askew either, its the snapshots around dinner tables and in social media and real life gatherings where sides must be chosen, defended, argued to infinity and beyond. Is anyone else tired of the massive leaps to judgement about anything and everything, by all the rage and anger we're confronted with at every turn? Weary of a society lacking in grace and second chances?

On a warm August evening I stand in front of a sky on fire and I feel small. Helpless to do anything about everything in this great big mixed up world. And I watch a big yellow ball sink slowly into the sea. I  document her descent inch by inch and my heart feels a little lighter. I smile and remember when our girls were little and we'd tell them the sun was dropping right into the ocean... going to bed, and they'd say 'good night sun' with their soft sweet voices and innocent eyes.

I understand how easy it is for people to feel insignificant in a world gone mad. To think, 'Wow-God's sure got His hands full with this place.' My own problems seem ridiculous when held up beside a war ravaged Middle East, missing jet airliners, earthquakes, or even a country like ours that just can't seem to find the right way forward.

Which is why every now and then I think the whole world needs to watch a pink-golden sun set down on the water. The sureness of it, the staggering multi-colored beauty of it, is a visual reminder that God is in the details. He's a worker of miracles and a bringer of peace. He is big and He is God and He's got the whole world in His hands.

You and me and them. The world wars and the families in turmoil. The national discord and the day to day worries that loom large when our heads hit their pillows at night.

Watching the sunset helps me remember the One who sinks the sun into the sea is the same One who hears me when I whisper His name.

My daughter called a little while ago. Her wedding dress arrived in the store today and as I listened to the excitement in her voice my heart filled all the way up.  Yes this world is harsh, but it is also filled with indescribable joys.  Keep looking up.


  1. Joyce, what a great post. I experience all those same emotions that you describe so well. Hopeless, helpless, and then the sun comes up and sets and someone we love smiles....there is a God, and He is good.

  2. Beautifully put. I feel much the same way, We know that in this world we will have trouble, but take heart, He has overcome the world. That's the best part.

  3. Beautiful....simply beautiful! I find when I'm troubled by things around me that there is nothing like being one with nature to sense God' awesomeness around me as I breathe in crisp mountain air or gaze across mile after mile of mountain tops or to survey the hidden wonders that sort of loom out at me at these times. Peace, undeniably God given peace washes over me like nothing else can. We need to remind ourselves every day that God is in control and just because our world (literally or figuratively) is tossed upside down, life goes on and if we look joy can be found amidst it all.

  4. Wonderful post Joyce! Thanks for the reminder. Thank you God for all the beauty and all the details that you take care of!

  5. Very nice! Sure do hope our country can find the forward motion again..... soon.

  6. " Yes this world is harsh, but it is also filled with indescribable joys. Keep looking up"......perfect ending to this post.

  7. You are so right. I'm so glad Ithat I can't begin to solve the world's problems; they are in God's hands. I, too, an grateful for all the goodness in the world.

  8. Thank you, friend. I have felt my spirit sinking, sinking, sinking lately and have been fighting for joy. It always does my heart good to behold a sunset and realize that God is active because His brushstrokes change every few minutes. You do have to look UP to see the sunset. Sometimes it takes looking AWAY from internet, TV, social media, or my own navel to find that indeed He is in control--always and forever.

    So excited to hear about the wedding dress coming in. Countdowns are so much fun for a bride.

  9. Thank you for this...a little eternal perspective goes a long way!!

  10. Oh, you've written so eloquently my thoughts over all that is going on. I do enjoy those beautiful sunsets every night and thank God for each new day. I treasure the indescribable joys. We can never know what day they might come to an end. Our times are in His hands.
    Thank you.

  11. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, and I agree with you about this topsy tervy crazy world we're experiencing at the moment.