Thursday, October 13, 2011

Days of Beauty: When you don't feel beautiful.

Looking through verses on beauty - I came across this:

Acts 3:2-10,
"Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, 'Look at us!' So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.' Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."

Peter goes on to ask why they are surprised at what God has done - are they so slow to learn God's character?

But, here are some thoughts that jump out at me in this account.

* A man who has never walked, is carried daily to the temple gate to beg. Does that strike you as beautiful? Initially, I would have to admit - no. His disability is not beautiful. The humility that comes from needing to be carried everywhere is not beautiful. Begging is not beautiful nor does it make this man feel beautiful inside or out - I can only guess.

But, two things about this strike me as beautiful. He was carried. Beauty is service. There must've been at least one person around this man who cared enough to transport him daily to the temple gate. At least one who was able to look beyond is outward disfigurement and be willing to impart a small dose of beauty.

Second, did you catch the name of the gate he was positioned at each day? Beautiful. Really? I mean, just think about that one for a minute and let that sink in. How would you feel positioned at a gate named Beautiful each day begging for your very life when you felt absolutely anything but beautiful?

* Peter had to ask him to look at them. You have been there, haven't you dear one? I know I have. When something just isn't right or I'm not feeling beautiful either inside or out (or both) I may not be as confident or eager to meet your eyes. I may feel a little shame that something about me is not right and is not as beautiful as I think you appear or as I want to appear.

I have to think that this man had his head down - he knew they were coming. Did he know they followed Jesus? Did he feel sub-par? Would they give anything? Would he be able to eat tonight? And, yes - he probably felt shame. Look at all these capable legs walking to and fro to the temple each day. Look at all these who can freely worship inside instead of begging at the gate. Oh, to have beautiful legs and feet instead of disfigured and weak ones. Wouldn't that make you hang your head?

Peter called him on this and boldly said, "Look at me." You can see so much more of the true person when you look into their eyes. See the hurt, shame, fear, beauty, peace, etc... that reside there.

* Maybe when I feel this way I am asking for the wrong solution! The man was asking for money. Begging for his livelihood and Peter and John looked beyond his material need and got straight to the heart of his spiritual need. Yes, they also healed his physical need through Christ's power in them.

Reminding myself that God knows what I need - and the best thing to ask for is His best for me and His will to be done and that He would be glorified!

* He was spiritually changed. How about you? When you are not feeling beautiful, not asking for the right things, hanging your head - do you need some spiritual change? It is amazing how a sweet time with the Lord learning from Him and soaking up His beauty can change our outlook and raise our eyes. This man was healed more than just physically and others noted the change.

The joy came bounding out of his mouth, leaping out of his newly found legs and pouring into all those around him. Wonder and amazement followed...

Let these thoughts seep deeply today - asking what He would have you learn!

Photos: Sun shining in ~ beauty!


Lecia said...

This is a beautiful post and I one I truly needed to read today. Thank you.

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Beautiful!

angie said...

Was it intentional that your photos of the flowers/plants became more flattering from the beginning to the end of the post. I thought it fitting, even if it wasn't your intent.
Yesterday, I studied a mom while waiting for my daughter in dance class. She seemed to smile often, or maybe I noticed her smiles more because of her dimples. I began to wonder if she smiles more because, over the years, so many people have complimented her on her dimples. Smiling became a beautiful and rewarding act for her, because others uplifted her when she did so. I was reminded of how powerful our words can be in bringing beauty to others' lives.

Leanne said...

we just discussed this scripture in our BSF study yesterday! did you know that, most likely, Jesus saw him every day, also when he went to the temple? of the ladies brought up the hurt JESUS must of felt at delaying this man's healing, knowing his disciples would need to be the instrument of the Holy Spirit's power. I find the thought that Christ actually hurts for my physical and spiritual limitations brought on by the curse of sin...and he longs to heal them...a truly BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT about a BEAUTIFUL SAVIOR! Love reading your posts, Sweet Monica!

Elaine said...

Enjoyed this post this morning!