This is a devotional I recently wrote for our homeschool co-op.
Sara Groves wrote the above song in tribute to a man in Sarajevo whose name is Vedran Smailovic. Vedran was the principal cellist for the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra.
In Sarajevo in the 1990s there was a great war and many people died. Some of those people were civilians — people who were standing in a breadline, hoping to take some food home for their families. Twenty two of them were killed by a mortar shell. They were not soldiers or politicians or involved in the conflict at all — other than the fact that they lived there.
That was on May 27, 1992. On May 28, Vedran Smailovic went to the blackened part of the city where this tragedy happened, took out his cello, and began to play. He played in that park for twenty-two days, in tribute to the twenty-two men, women, and children who died there. It was his way of answering the tragedy. He mourned with music. He brought lavish beauty to a place that was war-torn, chaotic, and tragic.
The story of Vedran expresses some of God’s character. God created the world out of chaos. He spoke it into being and it was very good. If you look at creation, what He has made, it is amazing and beautiful. It works perfectly. And there are so many details that are there that didn’t need to be.
Think about this season of fall. God could have intended that autumn happened in a week or so. The trees would close up shop, lose their leaves in a pile of brown, and be done with it. But no — in His generosity to us, He intended for the season to be colorful: full of reds, yellows, oranges, and the bluest skies you can ask for. He didn’t have to do it that way, but the fact that He did means that beauty matters to God.
For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the Lord, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:18, ESV)
And so I want to encourage you students today that when you take an extra moment on your homework to get it right; when you stop to jump in the leaves that are turning; when you color a picture for your mom; when you draw what you see; when you sing with all your heart in church — YOU are creating and YOU are reflecting God’s glory when you do that.
And moms, when you light a candle at dinner even though the rest of the house is chaos; when you take an extra minute to love that child who is giving you a terrible attitude; when you bring beauty in what seems to be a darkened place, YOU are reflecting God’s glory.
These efforts can seem to go unnoticed for years at a time, maybe for our whole lives. Like the single cellist in the blackened park, we might feel as though our efforts are fruitless. They cannot raise the dead.
But we serve an audience of One, who made us like Him, in His image. Be encouraged. He sees. He knows.