Culture

Story behind the song: At the crossroads of my life, a Beautiful revelation

Ethel Yap // September 25, 2017, 5:25 pm

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Beautiful was written in the final months of my time in London. Upon finishing my Masters, I had to choose between staying in London or going home. Both options seemed to hold opportunity and uncertainty in equal measure. I felt torn between the two and could not determine which would be the better choice for me. I was at a crossroads.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

During this period, I spent a lot of time meditating on this verse, which eventually became the scriptural basis for Beautiful. At this time, I also wrote the acoustic guitar parts for the song. In God’s way, the music and the lyrics came beautifully together – the song resonated and proved incredibly relevant to what I was experiencing in my life at the time.

I soaked my life situation in constant prayer, and as God closed certain doors and opened others, I found myself returning home. Two years later, Ecclesiastes 3:11 became the theme verse of my wedding.

In hindsight, I’m now certain my marriage would not have happened had I remained in London, as the isolation and weariness of long-distance courting had been jeopardising my relationship with my then-boyfriend.

Upon my return home, God miraculously orchestrated many events that enabled me to get a headstart in my career that I could not have predicted or planned. This two-fold blessing reassured me that God does makes everything beautiful in His time.

When I sing this song now, with recent global events shaking up the world, I find it has taken on new layers of meaning. In a time when so many senseless, terrible and unexplainable things are happening all around us – and we feel like we’re just groping around in the dark – I cling all the more resolutely to the belief that God will make everything beautiful in His time.

It’s my hope that listeners can draw strength from this too.


Ethel is launching her EP with a special concert on 29 Sept, with shows at 7pm and 9.30pm, at Practice Space @ 54 Waterloo Street. She’ll be backed by a full band and will be sharing the personal stories behind each of her songs. Tickets are now available!