By Carey Helmink
As human beings, made in the image of God, we are lovers of beauty. To some degree, I think this is even truer for us as women. A friend of mine who came back from a mission’s trip told me that she was astounded by the fact that women who lived in cardboard shacks would look for things to make their “homes” beautiful – a wall hanging, some flowers, anything to add a special touch.
There are things that every person on the planet would most likely describe as “beautiful”: a glorious sunset; snow-capped, majestic mountains; the fury of the ocean waves; a strong, black stallion; a lion in all of his glory. But there is also the ever-changing way our culture defines beauty.
I recently read an article that articulated some of the ways the concept of physical beauty has changed through hundreds of years of civilization. At one time a full, voluptuous figure was considered beautiful. A few years ago, pencil-thin was “in.” (I have to say that I am in trouble on both counts. I was never voluptuous and pencil-thin? That ain’t never comin’ back for me.)
In the 80’s, blonde and blue-eyed was the name of the game, but now the heroines in the movies have dark hair and eyes. The lists go on. We are practically worshipers of physical beauty in our culture.
For example, when you hear the name Audrey Hepburn what do you think of? Read some of the facts of her life below:
“…she was the granddaughter of a baron, the daughter of a Nazi sympathizer, spent her teens doing ballet to secretly raise money for the Dutch resistance against the Nazis, and spent her post-film career as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, winning the presidential Medal of Freedom for her efforts.”
But here’s the kicker – history remembers her as “pretty.” Those of you who are fans of Pinterest can search her name and literally hundreds of photos come up of Ms. Hepburn in her prime. And she was beautiful. But there are a handful of photos interspersed throughout of her as an older (even more beautiful) woman holding a starving child. But our culture is obsessed with only her physical beauty.
As lovers of Jesus, we might argue that He is the most beautiful person ever to grace our planet. But the Bible would say something different about him:
“…There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” Isaiah 53:2b (NLT)
If Jesus stepped into the scene in our country today, we most likely would give him no notice at all, or possibly even think he was physically unattractive. I find it interesting that when the creator of the universe; the perfect Son of God; the Savior of the world came to earth, he was not physically appealing. People did not gasp at how handsome he was, or what an incredible physique he had (unlike the Jesus we see in our modern day movies).
But here’s the deal – He IS beautiful. Beauty gives pleasure to the mind and the senses, it is excellent in every way, and it is without flaw. What could be more beautiful than Jesus? David knew this when he said:
“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: 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 meditate in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 (NASB)
In a world tainted by destruction and sin, our souls long for something of true beauty. That Beauty, is worthy of our worship.
“You opened my eyes to your wonders anew; you captured my heart with this love. Because nothing on earth is as beautiful as You.” (from Beautiful One by Tim Hughes)
By the way, the first time Jesus came – he came in an unassuming, humble, “nothing special” way. Many people missed it. But the next time He comes? NO ONE will miss his beauty and his glory as every knee bows and every tongue confesses that He is Lord.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.