“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
With each year that passes, I find I take increasing comfort in the masking properties of cosmetics. Although I wish it weren’t so, I must confess that the cultural emphasis on youth and beauty affects me to a shameful degree at times. Looking in the mirror and noticing new spots of discoloration, the formation of tiny creases, and other facial imperfections sends me in search of a cover-up–something, anything, to mask the flaws that loom large in my mind.
The pain of feeling unattractive remains an all too familiar experience for us as women, yet our deceitful hearts tell us we’re entirely isolated in what we face. Many times, we refrain even from admitting such feelings to others; it’s hard to imagine someone else understanding our inner ache. For those of us who struggle with thoughts like this, here’s a reassuring truth: Someone does understand. When we consider those judged on the basis of appearance, our mind instantly turns to women. Yet consider these prophetic words describing our Savior’s earthly experience:
“…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Our Lord understands in ways we can’t imagine what it’s like to be measured according to earthly standards of beauty and found wanting. The great Puritan commentator Matthew Henry expounds on this passage:
It was expected that he should have some uncommon beauty in his face and person, which should charm the eye, attract the heart, and raise the expectations of all that saw him. But there was nothing of this kind in him; not that he was in the least deformed or misshapen, but he had no form nor comeliness, nothing extraordinary, which one might have thought to meet with in the countenance of an incarnate deity. Those who saw him could not see that there was any beauty in him that they should desire him…There was a great deal of true beauty in him, the beauty of holiness and the beauty of goodness, enough to render him the desire of all nations; but the far greater part of those among whom he lived, and conversed, saw none of this beauty…
What a comfort to know that our Savior understands the temptations and pressures we face in a world that idolizes physical perfection. Not only does He understand, but He also offers the power to overcome the dangerous obsession with earthly beauty. Could there be a better Friend with whom to share our deepest concerns? He created us, He knows us inside and out, and He loves us more than we could ever comprehend. In turning to Him we uncover what true beauty is all about.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
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Photo: Kay Garston
Video: Clay Productions