A woman was severely injured as she tried to escape from ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. Knocked unconscious from an explosion that left deep cuts and burns on her face, medical staff found her and took her to an emergency field hospital. There, she asked a writer who interviewed her, "Am I still beautiful?"
The interviewer recalled, "Without a doubt in my soul, I saw her beauty. I saw past the bruises, blood, and stitches, and I saw a daughter of the King. I saw a woman created in the image of God. In that moment, I caught a glimpse of how Jesus sees us. He doesn’t see our scars. He sees our beauty."
With the season of Lent upon us come Wednesday, sometimes the recollection of our mortality, sinfulness, and need to repent can focus us so much on our inner scars that we too wonder if we're still beautiful. So we need to be reminded that we are! Past all the ways we fall short of God's glory, we're still made in His image and have had our ashes exchanged for beauty (cf. Isaiah 61:3) thanks to Jesus' death and resurrection.
A delicate balance must be held: "Holy Spirit, bring to light that in my life which doesn't honor you and that mars my better reflection of Jesus." But also, "Lord, though you're still shaping me, I rejoice that I am forever Your child and forever precious and a delight to Your heart."
May this holy season of Lent both affirmyour true, beautiful identity in Christ and challenge you to seek Jesus' Holy Spirit to live in that identity more and more. No scar, no cut, no burn you've suffered nor even self-inflicted can change your true identity to God. In fact, God's power can even use them to demonstrate more of Him to us and more of Him to others. How redemptive and beautiful! AMEN.
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3-4).