Beautiful vandalism


I think we saw it at the same time. The giant rock beside the park trail shrouded in spray-painted graffiti. The five-year-old boy in front of me stopped in his tracks and gasped.

“Look, mother! Somebody wrote on that rock!”

I could sense his mother’s hesitation at beginning to describe what exactly he was seeing. The wheels in her brain churning, trying to concoct a kid-friendly word for vandalism. Before she uttered a word, he uttered something surprising.

“It’s—it’s beautiful!”

There were words in neon paint that only Urban Dictionary could give a detailed account of. Numbers and names of people and activities you hear about at 10 PM on your local news. His mother gently patted him on the shoulder, attempting to appease his sense of awe at something awful. No, this wasn’t a good thing. This wasn’t a good thing at all. But he put his hands on his hips and proclaimed defiantly:

“Well I think it’s BEAUTIFUL!”

His comment stuck with me—like a movie or book that makes you think even long after you’ve read the last word or thrown out your popcorn. It stuck with me not only out of humor or surprise, but also out of truth.

I’m like that giant rock along the park trail. Living in a fallen world where unfortunate circumstances and difficult situations and poor decisions have left marks.

I’m a rock that’s been vandalized.

But yet You come to me, and you find me, colored by the troubles and trials of this world all of which are clearly visible to You.

And I see you stop. And I heard you gasp. And I hear you say, “It’s—it’s beautiful!”

I don’t understand it. What good is there to come from the bad? What awe from the awful? No, these aren’t good things. These aren’t good things at all.

Yet you say, in all things you work for the good of those who love You (Romans 8:28). You take all I’ve been through, in any circumstance or situation, and you bring good from it all.

You make beautiful things from the bad.

You make beautiful things from the broken.

You make beautiful things out of spray-painted rocks.

You look at all that was and is and will be, and with your hands on your hip, you proclaim defiantly: “well I think it’s BEAUTIFUL!”

Your child,



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