“Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?” Isaiah 53:1 (The Message)
I had this post all planned out and drafted last week. All I had left to do was the final edits and hit publish. But I am determined to obey the Lord and not my deadlines. I know God’s timing is always perfect and mine never is.
We are currently in the middle of a big trip out west. This morning I am sitting poolside at a hotel in Orange County, California. This afternoon my husband will stand up as a groomsman for a friend of ours from college. We drove out here. Two days of driving with our three kids has proven to be, honestly, easier than expected. Sure they have complained, we expected that. But it was a complaint from one of my girls that changed the course of this post. Somewhere in the 110 degree desert in Arizona on Wednesday one of my girls looked at a part of her body and called it “ugly” – to me – to her mom.
The original title of this post was “Ugly”, and so I immediately thought about this post as I responded. She shrugged off my response with a question to me, “so why are you unhappy with how YOU look sometimes, Mom?”
Music was playing in the car as I sat silently in response without an excuse. I heard a few lyrics to a song playing in the car and the post title changed to what it is now… God may be using me to encourage you all but he is not even close to being done with me.
Isaiah 53 stood out to me when this blog launched because the words we see in that prophetic chapter are words many women use to describe their looks and circumstances. As we prepare our hearts to consider how we are dressed as the Bride of Christ we MUST do some closet cleaning in our hearts and minds. We look at ourselves – our own self and those around us in the church – and can’t believe what we see could possibly be worth believing in. Israel looked at Jesus and thought the same thing.
“Him? You’ve sent HIM to be King? HE is the one who will save us?”
The world looks at the church and says, “Um, no thanks.” But that’s how God wired them. You need not go after their approval because he doesn’t intend for them to approve you. Let the world go.
But… we look at ourselves too, not in humility, not in meekness, but in disdain and disgust and say, “Who me? You love me? Look at me? Look at this part of me that isn’t perfect… how could you love this when I see how beautiful THAT (the other woman, the other ministry, the other purpose) is?
All eyes on THE Groom. Stop looking at you. Stop looking at her… Look Him in the eyes.
Not so easy. But you know what I noticed about the bride yesterday at the rehearsal we attended? She absolutely glowed with radiance when she was looking at her groom. Sure there was a lot of planning and “stress” as details were figured out yesterday, but she was the happiest girl in the room last night.
Life requires us to be close to each other. Really close. Sometimes our stories bump up against each other like five bodies stuffed into a sedan going down the highway at 80 miles per hour. We see, smell, hear, feel, and taste things about each other and ourselves that are not pleasant. But it’s all just a misunderstanding. Truly, we are not nearly as close as God wants us to be with each other. There is distance now between who we are and who he’s making us into. And distance brings misunderstanding. The only way to truly see yourself and others as you truly are – the Bride – is to look Jesus in the eyes and believe he is who he says HE is. When you do, you will see others…and yourself as he intends you to. And you will be more than grateful for the dress material he’s given you.
All eyes on The Groom!