(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
Married to Amazement
By Emma Verschueren
My day was not beautiful. Though the trees had turned green, the sky was a brilliant blue, and spring made her loveliest appearance of the year, the circumstances of the day did not make it beautiful. It was one of those days that made me question the current state of my life and conclude that I was dissatisfied with the job I had, the classes I was taking, the friends with which I associated, and so forth. I have to admit, my day was pretty average—no tragedies or seriously hard times—yet I felt abnormally discontent. So why was I spiraling into an existential crisis, asking yet again, is this all there is to life?
One of today’s modern poets, Mary Oliver, once penned the words, “When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.” Something about those words resonates deeply in my soul; perhaps, it’s because they carry so much truth. We, as women especially, long to be the “bride married to amazement.” We long to not only be beautiful, but we want to dwell in beauty—even become beauty itself. What we want out of life is fulfillment, and we believe once we are fulfilled we finally become beautiful.
Moses had many days like I had where he was less than satisfied with the place where God had put him. In Exodus 33, God tells Moses to leave Mount Sinai. This was the place where God was present with Moses, giving him commands, and revealing glimpses of who He really is. Well, God told him to leave that place and move on to the land flowing with milk and honey. Even though this sounds glorious, no one was excited to move forward. In fact, in verse four of the chapter, it says that when the Israelites “…heard the disastrous word, they mourned and no one put on his ornaments.”
Honestly, I don’t blame them. Oftentimes God calls us into places of beauty and we don’t know it. We see the road that takes us to beauty, and we grumblingly diverge into the depths of despair. Not only that, but along the way we take matters into our own hands. Then, when things go wrong, we blame God. I often find myself saying, “But I thought you were supposed to make me righteous,” or “You promised you’d be with me,” or “Will things ever be beautiful again?”
Those phrases are warning signs. Step back and take a deep breath. Remember the ultimate promise God gave us. Psalm 27 is a good place to get some perspective. In verse four, David expresses: 1) That he longs for beauty, and 2) That beauty comes from one source. Here he speaks for humanity, while giving us the answer to our longing. Take a look:
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
– Psalm 27:4 (KJV)
David is on to something. He realizes that he, too, wants to be “married to amazement,” and, better yet, he knows that everything fulfilling, beautiful, and amazing comes from God.
The greatest response to our pleading for beauty and fulfillment is this: God knows you by name and He is what makes you beautiful. Better yet, He has given us the freedom to dwell with Him—not just after we die, but presently, even in our most unfulfilling of days.
In John 17:3 Jesus prays, “…this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Eternal life is now. The point of the cross was proximity to God. Because of that, we can “gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
My day was beautiful. As terribly mundane and unsatisfying as it seemed, I can look at it and proclaim it beautiful. Today I’m known by name. Today I’m fulfilled. Today I’m a bride married to amazement because He tore the veil so I could dwell in beauty with Him.