During an audio-visual lesson in Sunday school on Ephesians, J.D. Greear spoke of the transformation of a Christian life. He said that God’s grace restructures and affects change in our lives by way of danger and beauty.
Greear used the example of Frodo from The Lord of the Rings. Frodo left reluctantly on an adventure and encountered dangers along the way. But he also saw more beauty than he’d ever known back at the Shire. That couplet, danger and beauty, transformed Frodo’s life.
In my Christian walk I must admit that these two elements have made a difference. God’s grace has been active in crises and good times. Danger would not have been how I’d describe the struggles, storms, and stale times, but I see how it fits. Once in an actual storm, when we thought our son John and his friend were trapped at Chipmunk Creek, we feared the possible danger. But they had found safety, and of all places – in the old chicken coup turned clubhouse in our back yard. Our struggles involved job-related setbacks. Some relationships I would identify as gone stale. Yes, danger existed in all these.
And beauty: I rejoiced over the births of our four children, a beautiful encounter of cooperating with God’s created order. And when I think of the variety of colorful birds and other creatures, small and large, I add the joy of music and its splendid expanse of beauty. God has truly given us both personal and universal encounters with His beauty.
I turn to Scripture and find this couplet of danger and beauty as it relates to opening our eyes. Without expanding, I list these examples:
The Israelites in the wilderness: “You saw with your own eyes the great trials and those great signs and wonders” (Deuteronomy 29:3).
Elisha prayed for his servant: “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see” (2 Kings 6:17) the Lord’s army surrounding them.
Jesus gave thanks and broke bread at Emmaus: “Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him” (Luke 24:31).
And a closing example from fiction: In The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Lucy asked Mr. Beaver about Aslan the lion. Mr. Beaver replied, “No, He’s not safe, but He’s good.” Even with the Lion of Judah, there is danger and beauty.