“All beauty is only reflection.”
I read that today in Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and it struck me as an incredibly profound but rarely verbalized truth. Our culture worships beauty – never more so than now. And whatever we were born lacking, we can purchase on a payment plan. We can change shape, size, eye color and hair color. We can de-wrinkle, fluff up, pouf out, and pay to look like we kissed the back end of every bee in a hive.
This kind of beauty – the kind that comes from a bottle or a syringe or a surgery – is it true beauty? What about the beauty of a not-so-perfect looking, exhausted mother, tenderly caring for her special needs child day after day?
What about the beauty of utterly impoverished folk in a Third World country, walking mile after mile with no shoes to gather with other villagers and worship in grateful adoration?
What about the beauty of those who suffer for righteousness, whose stories and tears we will never know this side of Heaven? And the beauty of those who humbly choose to forgive and bless when doing so exacts a great cost?
These, I propose, are the faces of true beauty. And if “all beauty is only reflection”, as the moon is but a reflection of the glory of the sun, then of WHAT is it a reflection? Or perhaps, of whom?
I believe the answer lies in a seemingly paradoxical ancient writing by the prophet Isaiah. He writes prophetically of the coming Christ,
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” (Is. 53:2)
Isaiah had not yet seen this God-Man who, pierced and beaten, staggered under the weight of the sins of the whole world. Under the weight of MY sin. He hadn’t seen the weary trudging of dusty miles, the nights of no roof overhead, the aching loneliness. He wasn’t there when this Man of no physical beauty gave life and dignity back to the woman with the issue of blood. He didn’t get to watch as, with love in His eyes, He reached out and touched the shunned and miserable leper and made him whole.
Isaiah wasn’t there when the muscled back was laid open by a cat-o’-nine tails, only to then have a crude, heavy wooden cross placed on it. The bleeding brow, the agony of slow suffocation…here, my friends, is beauty.
He endured that for you. He endured that for me. Oh, how beautiful He is! Had Isaiah been granted just a glimpse, surely he would have asked how we could see anything BUT beauty in this consummate love and self-sacrifice.
Here is the beauty from which all other true beauty radiates. And no matter what our past or our physical appearance, “We who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).
So there you have it. As you reflect the Beautiful One, you are beautiful. True beauty. Beauty of spirit that far outlasts fleeting physical perfection.
Beautiful friend, go do some reflecting today. The world needs to see you shine.
Photo credit: href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/bardia_photowork/9848140103/”>Bardia Photography</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”> CC BY-NC-ND</a>