Looking for the “ugly beautiful”

By Dave Henning / January 19, 2013

Author Ann Voskamp begins Chapter 7 (“Seeing Through the Glass”) of One Thousand Gifts by describing her reaction to an altercation between two of her sons.  Ann just had finished placing vases of sunflowers around the house when the clash began, ostensibly over toast.  She struggled to envision God’s grace and the need to give thanks in that sinful situation, then recalled the words of Jean-Pierre Cassade (French Jesuit priest and writer, 1675-1751) from his book A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People:

“You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are.  You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies- though that never occurs to you.  Nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet God’s beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is.”

Ann believes that we choose to smother our own joy because we think anger, complaint and resentment will give us the power to achieve the full life we really want, a perverse sort of satisfaction.  We have a choice- to reject the joy hidden somewhere deep in our transitional, desert Land Between time; or to see joy, God in the moment.  Can we look for the ugly beautiful and count it as grace?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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