Elizabeth awoke one morning to discover a nightmare. It began as an ordinary day. She stumbled out of bed, pulled on some clothes and sped to the bathroom, hoping to arrive before Krissy, her little sister awoke and demanded they take turns.
Elizabeth grabbed her toothbrush and was about to put it to her teeth when she caught sight of herself in the mirror. The unearthly reflection caused her to blink, and with a clatter, her toothbrush fell to the floor. Folds of greenish skin wrinkled down her face. Her eyes, normally a light hazel, had become red bulbs bulging from her sockets. “Aah!” she shrieked.
As her fingers cautiously met the scaly folds of her face, a sensation of horror ran through her body. Her face had turned into a Halloween mask overnight, only a hundred times worse. Her long, wavy brown hair had shrunk to only a few spiky strands on her head and a few hairs protruded from her ears. On her arms were pussy white sores that hurt, now that she thought of them.
A knock sounded at the door. “Lizzy, let me in! I need the bathroom too, you know!” It was Krissy. Elizabeth froze. There was no way her sister could see her like this! Throwing a towel over her head, she opened the door, rushed past her little sister and into her own room.
What was happening? What had she done to cause this…this…monster to take over her body? Was it something she ate the night before? She prayed it would not be permanent, whatever it was.
Then, a terrible, sinking feeling came over her. She knew exactly what was going on. This was no monster. At least, this monster was not something new to who she was. This was her Self. The contents of her heart had spilled over to her body. She had now become on the outside what she always was on the inside.
Much to my relief, this is a far-fetched story. Chances are that we will never wake up to find that our faces have turned green or that we resemble a villain from a comic book, but I do wonder what would see if we had a morning like Elizabeth’s. What if we lived in a world where we were inside-out, where our souls were in plain view? What if how beautiful we were depended not upon the shape of our face or our weight, but how much love was in our hearts? Would we be beautiful?
And yet, we do live in a world where our insides are shown outwardly. Proverbs 4:23 says that the heart is the “wellspring of life.” Our lives and our actions all spring from the stuff we allow to grow in our hearts. And is this stuff beautiful? The answer is “no.”
With the amount of arrogance, boastfulness, meanness, lies, and self-satisfaction stored up in my heart, I doubt I would appear any different from Elizabeth’s monster. Jeremiah 17:9 speaks of the state of the human condition: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah continues on to say that although the heart is deceitful, it is not hidden. “’I the Lord search the heart, and test the mind, to give each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
To say God’s beauty stands in contrast with our ugliness would be an understatement. Comparing Him to us would be like comparing a rainbow with mud. There is no comparison. Christ—who is God in human form—is so inwardly beautiful that we would fall to our knees at a glimpse of His heart.
He doesn’t flatter us. Christ knows exactly how ugly we are. Yet, in His death for us, the wickedness that formerly covered us like pussy, oozing sores is healed the very moment we repent and place our faith in Christ. We become beautiful in the eyes of God. Not just kind-of-pretty-but-in-need-of-work; we become radiantly stunning. When God looks at us, He sees the glowing purity of His Son. We may bury our head in shame at all of our faults—but no matter what we do, God sees utter perfection.
And what does He now call us? No longer are we inner monsters. With Christ shining through us, we are given a new name: His Bride.
Labels: beauty, Biblical womanhood