Rise Up, My Love (192): As Beautiful as a Golf Ball!?

Self-portrait of Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto)Song of Solomon 6:4 “Thou art beautiful, O my love.” What makes someone beautiful? I never cease to marvel at the bridegroom’s estimation of his wife’s beauty. Would she truly have won a “Miss Ancient Universe” contest? Statue of a Woman. LondonHave you seen pictures from that era? Long noses and fat bodies were in. Was she white, or black? Short or tall? Blonde or brunette? I suspect if she ran for Miss America today, she wouldn’t win…she’d be too short and plump for the tastes of modern culture. But in her day, she was a woman recognized as a great beauty, for even the daughters of Jerusalem address her as “O thou fairest among women.” And, most importantly, her husband acclaimed her beauty.  Porcelain PlateWhat do you think makes a woman beautiful? Tastes change from culture to culture and era to era. Truly, there is has never been an enduring, universal standard of beauty in this world. Therefore, isn’t it reasonable to accept God’s standard of beauty instead of the whims of the world? What does God call beauty? It doesn’t seem to be so much what’s on the outside, but to God, I think it actually is “what’s in the heart that counts.”  Orange RoseThere seem to be four components to beauty…three of which are the responsibility of the individual person. First, a person is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable characteristics: height, facial features, skin type, hair color, and general build. Since God was the master designer, and since he declared all his creative works “good” from the inception of time, it seems right to believe that each person he created is beautiful in his eyes. He made each one of us just the way he wanted us, didn’t he? So, we are born as he designed us (which we must accept by faith, because it doesn’t fit our human reasoning), but beyond that each of us is given three responsibilities: tending our body, enhancing it through appropriate dress, and illuminating it with the light of his presence. The strange woman in Proverbs 7 has a body that is beautiful but full of darkness. But, the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 has a body that is lovingly disciplined, beautifully maintained, and full of the light of his presence and good works. Peace LilyGod promises that such a woman will be praised, whether or not she could win a Miss Middle East contest in 1000 B.C. Think about it for a moment. Think about the people you know…your friends and neighbors…the people where you worship…the people in the work place. How many of them would you call truly beautiful? Try to mentally come up with some names. Now, switch gears and think about the same groups of people, and try to come up with a list of the people who are most loved and esteemed. Are they the same? The Lord says in I Corinthians 1:26 that not many who are wise, or mighty, or noble are called, and it appears to me that not many who are beautiful are called either. It has been said that a perfectly smooth golf ball would only travel about 130 yards off a tee, but with all the pock marks they fly almost twice as far due to minimized wind resistance. For the consolation of those billions of us who don’t count ourselves among the candidates for perfection incarnate (and I’ve never yet met someone who truly thought she was perfect)—trust God with the things about your body that you can’t change! All those “imperfections” that you’d like to change…the long nose or the high waist, the graying hair or the balding head…or more devastating deformities…remember that they’re just “dimples on your golf ball,” put their by the intentional design of your Creator so that you’ll fly further for his glory. Our “imperfections” (as we perceive them) really are there to cut down on our resistance to the winds of the Holy Spirit blowing and directing our lives to the goal of his glory! Wouldn’t you like to be a golf ball that could make a “hole in one?” Who cares what the golf ball looks like? It’s how true and straight it flies! “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:24).Lavendar Iris(Like flowers, each individual is unique and beautiful. I do not believe that deformities and decay were ever a part of God’s original plan, but rather the result of sin and the fall of creation. God has promised to “make all things new” when he redeems the world, and then we will be perfect—and perfectly beautiful!)