MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE

Sep
2018
08

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“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” (John 7:24)

There was a time when September meant going back to school, experiencing temperature changes along with shorter days, enjoying football games, and on a particular Saturday night – one could hear the well-rehearsed refrain from the TV: “There she is . . . Miss America.” The song came at the end of the program when only one of fifty women representing each state in the United States was crowned, after each had been judged on their beauty by the millions watching.  Originating in Atlantic City on September 8, 1921 as a “bathing beauty revue”, the competition has not been without controversy over the years. In 1969, for instance, as the contestants walked across the stage – protestors unfurled a bed sheet from the rafters containing a statement that read “Women’s Liberation” in large letters. Some women shouted “No More Miss America!” over the crowd in the first ever protest against the pageant. Outside hundreds of women took over the Atlantic City Boardwalk, carrying signs stating “All Women Are Beautiful.” The group condemned the consumerism surrounding the show and how the program valued a woman’s beauty more than her personality. Today, the contestants are judged on talent performances and interviews. There is no longer a swimsuit portion to the contest or consideration of physical appearance.

If we are fortunate enough to live very long, we realize that physical beauty wanes over time.  This even includes that of former Miss America contestants.  I love the story of the gentleman who, after many years of not attending a high school reunion, decided to go to his 50th.  As he walked into the venue where the event was being held – he opened the door of the gathering area, went in, walked around for a few minutes, then left and went home. As he later relayed his story to a friend of his, the friend asked why he decided to leave so abruptly.  He paused and thoughtfully planned his statement: “Well I decided to attend because I was looking forward to seeing some of my former classmates. But, you know, when I walked into that room – all I saw was old people.” No doubt we have all felt or will come to feel that way, if we are graced with the gift of age. We should remember that “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old” (Proverbs 20:29).  While we may not be able to see the beauty of age in our contemporaries,  we first come to appreciate this attractiveness in our grandparents. Each September, National Grandparents Day is observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day honoring grandparents and the special role they play in our families and communities. Who better than our grandparents to remind us: “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Someone once said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Literally translated, this means that the perception of beauty is personal and open to individual preference.  What may appear as beautiful to one person may be far less than that to someone else.  In this throw-away society, it has become far too easy to discard our relationships when we no longer classify them as attractive. We find that even our own self-esteem is at times based on how we look, as we are occupied in a world obsessed with outward appearance. Sometimes we think we are not worth much on the canvas of life. However, nothing in a person’s outward appearance impresses God. He looks at our inner beauty – the beauty of one’s heart. In those times when you are feeling ugly and downright worthless – remember that you are God’s Creation, and He thinks that you are His masterpiece. “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). When you start to believe that you are anything but beautiful, be assured that you are “a keeper” in God’s eyes. He sees you as more beautiful than you can imagine, and He is not finished with you yet.

REFLECTION: The Old Testament prophet tells us, “A voice said, ‘Shout!’ I asked, ‘What should I shout?’ ‘Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field’” (Isaiah 40:6). How must we learn to apply this in our life and be confident that we are beautiful to God? When we are talking with someone who fails to know any personal attractiveness, how can we help them understand that Jesus has sacrificed Himself for us and that we should not refuse such a great investment?

A NEW LOOKUP  DEVOTION IS UPLOADED EACH WEEK. THE NEXT WEEKLY POSTING WILL BE ON SAT. SEPTEMBER 15, 2018.  COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.

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