Why We Long to Be Beautiful (or Handsome)

images  I love the springtime. Spring is the season for new life, and new life always brings hope. Spring bursts forth with a symphony of color and fragrance that declares our God is a lover and creator of beauty. I sometimes wonder at the artistry of such a fallen world and how heaven could compare. I’m sure there are no words adequate to describe. Have you ever wondered why He made so many different kinds of flowers? Or birds? Or creatures under the sea? Or the purpose of the loveliness of a sunset? The Bible says the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, and I believe springtime is one way He shows off His glory!

We were created with a desire for beauty…but why? Because God is beautiful and He makes all things beautiful in their time. Beauty inspires awe and a sense of well being. Somehow it makes it seem as though all is right in the world. The absence of it causes life to appear bleak, drab, and hopeless. Can you imagine what the world would be like if God made everything black and white? Loveliness provokes creativity, life, and joy. One of my favorite Scripture passages is Song of Songs 2:10-13, My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Whenever I feel down, this passage always lifts my spirit. 

Not only do we have a desire for beauty, but also a deep longing to be beautiful. Our society takes advantage of this innate need. Hundreds of ads and commercials deceptively promise to make us more beautiful, or our homes, cars, wardrobes, etc., more desirable if only we buy their products. Of course, our enemy plays on it as well by influencing us to endlessly compare ourselves with others, or alter our appearance through harmful diet fads, plastic surgery, excessive exercise, etc. But these things will never satisfy this longing.

Mike Bickle, in his book, The Seven Longings of the Human Heart, writes, “What does a longing actually mean? Few words in the English language capture such depth of emotion in two short syllables. A longing is not a superficial want that might be satisfied by a simple act of kindness. A longing is not even a genuine need for which we can demand satisfaction. Longing goes deeper than that. A longing is an ache of the heart. It is a cavity of the human spirit crying to be filled. In its deepest sense it is neither a true verb nor a true noun, but combines the two, spanning the gap between emotion and genuine need. It is an intangible feeling that ebbs and flows, yet it is a concrete reality. It cannot be reasoned with, negated or dismissed. One way or another, whether legitimately or illegitimately, a human longing will be filled. It must be.” 

God created this longing within us to draw us to Himself, the beautiful God, the Lover of our soul who aches to fill it. The beauty of springtime, and the world around us serves not only to show forth His glory, but to woo us, to romance us as His beloved bride. He sees everyone of us as beautiful, for He made us. Even more amazing, He thinks we’re beautiful with all of our faults, flaws, and shortcomings! Ponder that for a while. No matter what others may think or say, how you think you compare to your friends, or even what you see when you look in the mirror, there is One who is beaming with joy and delight when He looks at you. Even now He is saying to you, My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show Me your face, let Me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”  (SOS 2:14)

 

 

A Real Life Fairy Tale

No matter how old I get, I will always love the story of Cinderella. I recently went to seecinderella Disney’s newest version of the beloved classic and was reminded again why I love it so much. I love it because Cinderella is my story…and it is yours. It is our story. The story of a beautiful maiden who had a wonderful, loving family as a child. She wanted for nothing. She was cherished and adored, and life was good. And then tragedy struck. The loss of her mother eventually led to the remarriage of her father to another woman. In time she also loses her beloved father, and becomes a slave in her own house. Jealously despised by her step-mother and two step-sisters, she is forced to wait on them hand and foot. She endures much cruelty from their words and actions.

As she grows into young womanhood, the opportunity comes for every maiden to attend a ball so that the prince might choose a bride. She actually meets him by chance one day, though his identity is kept a secret. It was love at first sight for them both. Despite the objections and attempts of her step-mother and sisters to keep her from attending the ball, she does show up, through the grace of her fairy god-mother. She meets the prince again and he is captivated by her beauty. Before the magic ends and she is discovered to be a peasant girl, she disappears suddenly, leaving one glass slipper behind. After searching throughout the kingdom for the maiden who lost the shoe, the prince discovers her to be a servant, not the princess he had thought her to be. Nevertheless, his love remains the same for her and they get married and live happily ever after.

We were once that beautiful maiden, (sorry guys, you’ll have to stretch that imagination!) deeply loved and cherished by our Heavenly Father. Then tragedy struck in the Garden and we became slaves in the place we once knew as paradise. Much suffering entered the world and we continually faced many troubles and trials. Yet there is a Prince, a King, who in spite of our poverty, shame, and brokenness, is captivated by our beauty. He has already planned in His heart His royal wedding, and intends to marry us and make us His beloved bride. Even now, He is searching throughout His kingdom for those who have lost their way. He intends to find all who will say “Yes” to Him and we will live with Him in His kingdom forever and ever.

The truth that makes our story even more powerful than Cinderella, is that we chose to walk away from Him. We chose to reject the One who loves us the greatest. We chose the sin that has marred us and the earth we live in. Yet His love remains unrelenting, and He will not be denied. His desire is for us and He has done all that was necessary to make a way back to Him, including laying down His life. His grace makes it possible for us to become the princess He intended us to be. Our story is a real life fairy tale.

Insights from Song of Solomon – God Enjoys Us in Our Weakness

Song of SolomonDark am I, yet lovely… Song of Solomon 1:5

Like the Shulamite maiden we are well aware of our darkness – our failures, sins, and shortcomings. So many believers live under a cloud of guilt, shame, and condemnation, believing God must be thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with them because of their inability to measure up. This mindset not only brings continual feelings of despair and defeat, but also causes us to look at others with a critical, judgmental eye. Whatever you look for you will find, and whatever you focus on grows bigger in your mind. Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but if we harbor self-bitterness or self-hatred, we will tend to treat others in the same way, causing a multitude of problems in our relationships.

We so easily make God in our image, projecting our frustration and anger toward ourselves onto Him; this is just one of many lies we often believe about Him. Yet the truth is, He loves and even enjoys us in our brokenness, immaturity, and weakness. The maiden acknowledges her brokenness but also testifies of her loveliness before God. This is not arrogance or presumption, but rather a correct understanding of the heart of God for His beloved bride.  Jesus clearly demonstrated the depth of His mercy, love, and compassion in His willingness to physically become like us, suffer beyond our ability to comprehend, and die in our stead. His heart is always full of tender compassion and love for us because He is love.

Through His death and resurrection we have received the gift of His righteousness so that when God looks at us, He sees us as perfect through His blood. He loves us in the same way He loves His Son, the One He spoke of in saying, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) He placed His Spirit within us, imparting a sincere heart that desires to fully obey Him. Our spirits are willing and longing to please Him in spite of the weakness of our flesh. He sees the end from the beginning so He is able to view us from an eternal perspective as His beloved bride who will walk in obedience to Him forever and ever.

When God calls us lovely, it is because of these things; He doesn’t look at the things we look at; He sees beyond the surface. Just as a parent loves and enjoys their child completely at every stage of their growth and development, He loves and enjoys us in ours. He knew what He was getting into when He chose us. He is not disillusioned with us, for He never had any illusions about us to begin with. He knows us completely and enjoys us as we grow and mature in and through Him. Ask Him to show you how He sees and feels about you!

Do you believe God enjoys you in your weakness? If not, why not? Comment below.