I was sitting at my desk the other day, minding my own business, when Mount Vesuvius erupted on my chin. You know how it is. One minute you have clear skin, and the next, the affected area is glowing like your cell phone screen in a darkened theatre.
It doesn’t seem fair to earn the senior discount at thrift shops while one spot on your face is screaming, “I’m 16!” On the same day the throbbing red mountain exploded I also discovered a new wrinkle—right next to the super-sized pimple. Oh joy.
Does anyone have a combo wrinkle cream/zit zapper?
Discovering any new wrinkle isn’t fun, but when one suddenly appears in a portion of your body that has been smooth and lovely for more than half a century, you find yourself doing a double-take.
Hey, I asked myself, Who plopped that vertical Grand Canyon on my chin?
I remember the day I discovered my first major facial wrinkle. I was sure it was only one of those creases you get from sleeping on your pillow just so. But the crease hung around. I don’t think it’s leaving because it’s invited relatives to move in next door.
I’ve been thinking about beauty quite a bit this year, but not the physical kind. I’ve been pondering the beauty of the Lord and the beauty of pleasing Him.
It started after God gave me a precious moment with himself one day. I’d just completed a project that God had called me to do, and it had taken a year to complete. God had begun preparing me for this task more than a decade earlier; the job required sacrifice and hard work; it was physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. But I needed to do it—I wanted to do it for Jesus.
Now you need know that I’ve been held back numerous times in the remedial Christianity 101 class. I’m still trying to graduate, while you’re probably teaching college courses in knowing Jesus. Maybe you’re like the man I learned from this weekend who teaches all over the world about the Holy Spirit. When this guy was only 12 years old the Spirit began nudging him to speak to people, and in the following few months the pre-teen led about 30 people to Christ. When I hear that, I think Wow! I spent my twelfth year of life watching Gilligan’s Island on TV.
So the Lord completely surprised me on the day He gave me a special pat on the back. I have to admit I ugly cried.
You poured yourself out for me, Jesus whispered to my spirit though Mark 14:3-8. You have done a beautiful thing to me.
I’d done what He prompted me to do, I’d done what I could—that was all—and He saw my act of obedience as beautiful! He didn’t care if I had a gigantic zit or my waist was four inches wider than it used to be.
I’m sharing this because I know the Lord’s message for me that day was for you, too: your obedience to God, your sacrifice for Jesus is beautiful to Him! Think about that for a minute.
God created beauty—He knows beauty, He is beauty. God could measure us according to the most magnificent physical specimens on Earth—to Marilyn Monroe, to Beyonce, to a Brazilian supermodel. He could compare us to a fire-in-the-sky Coloradan sunset, to the mesmerizing cerulean waters of the Caribbean ocean, to the tiny jewel of a butterfly’s wings or the vast view from a mountain peak, the kind that replaces garbage cans, police sirens, and claustrophobic office cubicles with a world of green and blue and peace. He could compare us to the face of a sleeping infant whose tranquil softness reflects heaven for the briefest of moments—just a sliver of time—before the gravity of a sinful world begins it work of decay.
Consider the greatest beauty you’ve witnessed in your life: He could compare you to that. But He doesn’t. Your willingness to do what you can for Jesus is beyond compare to Him. In fact, even before you were obedient, Jesus loved you and sought you—He only wanted you to be with Him. And when you are with Him there’s no need to worry about make-up or the hair on your upper lip, because He will wrap you in His beauty. Consider 1 Chronicles 16:27:
Glory and beauty are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
So if you are measuring yourself by the firmness of your abs, the color of your hair, or the size of your clothing today, get yourself into the presence of the Lord—where the true, eternal beauty lives. Clothe yourself in the beauty of being with Him, the beauty of pleasing Him.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Psalm 90:17 (KJV)
One thing have I desired 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 behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire [or meditate] in his temple.
Psalm 27:4 (ESV)