(Originally appeared in Songs in the Night, copyright Warren W. Wiersbe)
It’s good to know that the word beautiful has returned to our vocabulary. We’re accustomed now to hearing people talk about beautiful ideas, beautiful thoughts, and even beautiful people. As I thought about this recently, I recalled a verse from the Bible: “He hath made everything beautiful in his time” (Eccles. 3:11). To me, this is a very encouraging statement; and I want to explore it with you. “God hath made everything beautiful in His time.”
This statement does not say that God has made everything beautiful, because He hasn’t. Sin certainly isn’t beautiful, but God did not make sin. Hatred is not beautiful, but God is not the author of hatred. God is love. Violence is not beautiful, but God did not create violence. Violence is borne out of the selfish hearts of men, not out of the loving heart of God. Whether we like it or not, there are some things in this life that are not beautiful; but these are the things men have made, not God.
No, our verse tells us that all the things that God has made have their own beauty in their own time; and that’s quite a different story. You can see this principle at work in nature. In the winter season, the landscape is barren and dreary. If a visitor from outer space were to arrive in Chicago during the heart of winter, he might wonder why people enjoy living there! There are times when Mother Nature wears garments of mourning; at those times there isn’t a great deal of beauty to admire.
But then the spring arrives, and everything begins to change! Those ugly stumps in the garden start to develop into roses. The trees sprout their leaves and the grass begins to turn green. And before long, you and I forget the dark, cold winter and commence to enjoy the beauty of springtime. “God hath made everthing beautiful in his time.”
To some degree, I think this is true in human life as well. A newborn baby can hardly be called beautiful! Of course we love the baby and look beyond its initial features, but you really don’t expect a newborn baby to be beautiful. But time takes care of the matter; and before long you have a darling child, then a lovely teenager, and then a truly beautiful adult. “God hath made everything beautiful in his time.”
Now, this statement from the Bible tells us two important facts. First, that God’s desire is for beauty; God is not interested in ugliness. Second, that you and I need patience to wait for God to bring the beauty in His own time. Of course when we talk about beauty, we do not mena the artificial glamour that the world admires. We mean the true inner beauty that reveals itself in gracious character and conduct. God’s will for our lives is that we share in true beauty and if we wait for Him to work, He will bring that beauty in His own time. Artificial beauty is always available, but true beauty from God can only come in God’s time.
Let’s apply this principle to our lives personally. God wants our lives to be beautiful, because God is glorified by beautiful things. But this beauty is not something that comes automatically; it is the result of the difficult process of living. True beauty of character can never be purchased at a cosmetic counter; it must come from the heart. Of course, the first step toward this beauty is receiving Christ into the heart as Savior. He must cleans us from the ugliness of sin and fill us with the beauty of holiness before our lives can truly begin to take on that Christlikenss that we need.
After we have turned our lives over to Christ, we must yield to His will and let Him make us the way He wants us to be. This often means going through times of testing and trial. Perhaps today you are going through the furnace of suffering, and you may be asking, “Why is this happening to me?” As you look at your situation, you don’t see much beauty; but remember, God makes everything beautiful in His time. I have been through times of suffering and certainly didn’t see much beauty in them; but after a few years, God’s purposes were fulfilled and the true beauty of the experience was revealed.
I think of that young man Joseph in the Book of Genesis–sold as a slave by his brothers, forced to do a servant’s work in Egypt, thrown into prison because of a vicious lie. It seems such an ugly picture! But God was at work, and ultimately the beauty of the whole picture was revealed. Then Joseph was able to say to his brothers, “You meant it to me for evil, but God meant it for good.” God made Joseph’s experiences beautiful in their time.
I think of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. His enemies lied about him and brought false witnesses into court. As Stephen tried to tell them about Christ, they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death. What an ugly scene–that hateful mob throwing stones at an innocent man. But God made it beautiful in His time; for as the result of Stephen’s shining face, Saul of Tarsus was saved and became the great apostle Paul.
If you are in the will of God, no matter how dark your situation may be, remember this: God has a plan, God has a time, and God will make everything beautiful in His time.
This principle is seen at work especially in the life of Jesus Christ. You will remember that the prophet Isaiah had this to say about Jesus: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2).
From a purely human point of view, there was nothing beautiful about Jesus Christ. Certainly His birth was not beautiful: He was born in a cattle stall surrounded by poverty. He grew up in a poor carpenter’s home in Nazareth, and there was proverb in that day which said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” “Despised and rejected of men”–“There is no beauty that we should desire him.”
During His ministgry He was known as the friend of sinners. The lowest sinner could come up to Jesus and talk to Him. Most of the important people steered clear of Jesus; they didn’t like the company He kept.
How did He die? The wors possible death–crucifixion. There was nothing beautiful in His death; it was ugly, violent, painful, and shameful. “He hath no form nor comeliness…there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
But, remember–God has made evertying beautiful in His time. When you trust Christ as your Savior, then you look at Him with spiritual perception and you see His beauty. You see the beauty of His birht. Paul puts it this way: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9). And we see the beauty of His life–the good shepherd seeking the lost sheep, the great physician seeking to heal the wounds of humanity. Yes, we even see the beauty of His death. Paul wrote, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). In fact, we Christians remember Christ’s death every time we observe the Lord’s Supper.
The beauty of Jesus Christ captivates the person who trusts Him and lives for Him. We long to be conformed to the image of Christ! The psalmist looked at Jesus Christ through the telescope of faith and wrote, “Thou art fairer than the children of me; grace is poured into thy lips” (45:2). The one who believes on Christ sees how beautiful the Savior is and longs to become just like Him.
“God hat made everything beautiful in his time.” Wait on the Lord, let Him work out His plan, and one day you will see the beauty of it all. Meanwhile, lose yourself in the beauty of Jesus Christ. Let God transform you to become more like Christ! And one day, that beauty will be revealed in glory when Jesus returns for His own.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).