“She never took a bad picture.” I heard this comment several times when sharing photos of my late wife with others. Bev was blessed with beauty and the camera did ‘love’ her, but yet she did not like being photographed! She always saw the one ‘flaw,’ the hair out of place or something. Despite being a very pretty woman, Bev never felt pretty! My compliments were usually met with protest. She told me that love made me blind.
Do you know that your Father in Heaven thinks you’re beautiful? Yes, He made you, loves you, and sees you in all your potential and possibilities! But, when you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you only see that temper, that trait of your personality that is flawed, a chronic physical weakness, some habit with which you struggle as you walk with the Lord? I want to tell you that the One who knows you best, loves you most. That ‘thing’ that you hate, that ‘flaw’ that you ask Him to change, heal, or take away- is uniquely you and it may serve a good purpose. Oh, I am not suggesting that we rejoice in our sin or make peace with unholy habits. It is right to ask the Spirit to empower and transform us, but there are times when He will not take what we think to be a curse from us because it keeps us faithful to Him.
Think about this. Do you realize that it is often at the point of our greatest ‘weakness’ that God finds the opportunity to do His greatest work? Beginning in March, 2014, I walked in severe trials with Bev. Her cancer was a terrible experience and I am not sugar-coating it. But, the fiery trial deepened our love for each other and our devotion to God. In our desperation we found faith we did not know was even possible. When I was at the end of my rope, when I had nothing to offer, nowhere else to turn – I found the Lord in new ways. Is it easy? Not in any sense of the word. Was seeing her die what I desired? The answer to that is obvious! But, it is the path He allowed and He uses ALL things for His purpose, IF we trust Him.
Paul was extraordinarily used of God and because of his gifts, he was subject to pride, which could have destroyed him. God gave him another ‘gift,’ that made him God-aware and Spirit-reliant. Paul wrote about the experience- “I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NLT) It is useless to speculate over Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ (NIV) but whatever it was, he disliked it enough to pray long and hard for healing. God said, “No! That thing is my gift to you to keep you leaning hard on my grace, not yourself.” Suffering, as much as we hate it, can be God’s leash that keeps us from running headlong into soul destroying situations.
Remember Jacob, the patriarch in Genesis? He wrestled with a heavenly messenger at the ford of Jabbok all night long. The encounter left him a changed man with a new name. “The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.” Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.” The man said, “What’s your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” (Genesis 32:26-28, The Message) There was another result, less pleasant. Jacob’s hip was wrenched and he walked with a limp from that day. Yes, that was a daily reminder of his life-changing encounter with the Lord’s messenger!
Christian, would you consider that God has a purpose in that painful situation, in that thing you dislike? Our Father knows us, loves, us, and sees us with joy. So, let me urge you to take a second look at that part of your life that makes you feel ‘ugly,’ and make it the thing that drives you to your knees. Prayerfully consider, with the help and insight of the Spirit, whether God is giving you a ‘gift’ to keep you close to Him. Thank Him that He is greater than your weakness and present Him with your ‘problem,’ inviting Him to remove it or use it — in keeping with His eternal purposes. Make the statement of faith with Paul – “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When you discover that Jesus is ‘enough’ and begin to accept His love and grace, His joy will fill your heart and mind.
Here is a word from the Word – “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, KJV)
You’re Beautiful (worship along with the song on YouTube by clicking here)
Days when you don’t have the strength
Wondering if you ever could be loved,
If they ever truly saw your heart
They’d see too much
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful,
You are made so much more than all of this.
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful,
You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His.
I’m praying that you have the heart to find
Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you’ve held inside so long
And they are nothing in the shadow of the cross
Before you ever took a breath
Long the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You’re the one He madly loves
Enough to die!
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
In His eyes!
Barry Graul | Bart Millard | Brown Bannister | Dan Muckala | Jim Bryson | Mike Scheuchzer | Nathan Cochran | Robby Shaffer
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