Beauty From Ashes

Photo by RebeccaLAllen

Photo by rebeccalallen8

How do you define beauty?  What is beautiful in your eyes?  Some people single-mindedly see beauty in things which are aesthetically pleasing to their individual eye….things which are produced by wealth and human ingenuity….things which make their egocentric minds and souls happy and giggly.  Things.

We are surrounded by ‘beautiful people’ ….people we see on the cover of the latest glamor magazine and those staring back at us from the motion picture screen.  These beautifully crafted people appear to have no obvious blemish or flaw to distract our unfaithful eyes.  Our society has elevated them to a status that no human being could ever hope to live up to, making them worshiped icons and idols of our culture-driven society.

The paradox of this imaginary conundrum is that it is a lie, created by the greatest liar of them all.  True beauty is not found in these falsely maintained castles of our mind.  Rather, beauty is found in our Creator God.  Beauty is found in those things which reflect our Creator.  The amazing thing is that God has given us so many ways to see His beauty.  It is freely seen, yet few actually see through the aspheric lenses required to identify it.  Real and true beauty is not defined by our eyes or our thoughts.  It is defined by the words of God.

God’s reflected beauty can be seen all over this earth but for me, it is most readily seen in children of third-world countries who have nothing to their name except the innate knowledge of a Holy God who loves them.  His reflected beauty is most easily seen in those who do not rely on the world’s pleasures for satisfaction but instead take solace and comfort solely in the promises of God.  In these often tired and poor, we see the character God reflecting brightly upon our faces; character which is molded, tested and tried by the fiery hand of God.   Those forced to live in the ashes of poverty have a treasure of beauty we, spoiled by wealth, could never appreciate.  Within their heart is a wealth of hope that only God can give to them.  These are people of beauty in my eyes.

pict0027 by Babette Arnold

A Testament to God's Beauty in Tanzania

It’s not an easy thing to see poverty….to really see it.  It’s hard to get beyond the appearance…..torn, ragged children who live in dirty, filthy cardboard homes;  disease-ridden, infectious souls who have no food to fill their bellies; heirs of God wounded and maimed by war, disease and evil.  But if you look deeply, you can you see into the warmth of their smile and deep into the hope of their dreams.  You can see beyond the sadness and disappointment into the beauty of their soul….their sole dependence on God….if you will only take the time to look and experience.

One thing is certain.  God loves the poor.  He has asked us, those of us who have been called into His service, to love and take care of the poor.  This is not a request but a command.  Are we listening?

Isaiah 61 is a beautiful soliloquy concerning the poor.  We are told that God will bring the good news to the poor. We are His hands and feet.  God has promised to bring liberty to the captives. We are His hands and feet.  God has promised to comfort those who mourn and  give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes because God loves justice. We are His hands and feet.  The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. Are we listening?

Incline your ear to me, says God in Psalm 102. I regard the prayer of the destitute and I do not despise their prayer.  Let this be recorded for a generation to come…that God looked down from His holy height, from heaven the LORD looked at the earth to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die. Are we listening?

Happy Child of God in Tanzania

God's Beloved in Tanzania

God is the author of beauty.  Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Psalm 96:6.

The poor are beautiful to God.  They are precious to God.  He has called both the affluent and the poor into His fold and has said of us, “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD.” Isaiah 62:3. “I shall bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  Isaiah 61:3 Are we listening?

God has promised not to abandon us.  He has promised not to abandon the poor.  Isa 41:17 The oppressed and the poor look for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched from thirst.  I, the LORD, will respond to their prayers; I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.

How could we not participate in the things which God has called beautiful?  How could we, when called, turn our faith and become faithless and fruitless after all He has promised us?  How ungrateful we must seem to a Father who gave us everything.

You can help. There is an easy way to be the hands and feet of God.  Are we listening?

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked 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 gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

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