Okay, so this is going to be my last Esther post. Tonight was my last Bible study session, and I'm just bursting to share the truth that Beth Moore shared in her video. Man, I'm going to miss this class....
One of the first themes we studied in Esther was: "It's tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment." Esther was a remarkably beautiful woman, and yet it was deemed necessary to give her a full year of beauty treatments to prepare for her night with the king. Obviously, the Persians placed supreme importance on physical beauty.
This is certainly just as true now as it was in Esther's day. We are surrounded by ads for beauty creams and exercise regimens and diet pills. We are inundated with pictures of young and beautiful women with perfectly enhanced bodies--either through surgery or through Photoshop. It's hard not to get caught up in the obsession, hard not to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking.
The truth is, no matter how beautiful we can make ourselves, our beauty inevitably fades. We can try to hold onto it, but in our realm, time diminishes beauty.
A Time For Everything
Praise the Lord, it's not that way with God! In God's realm, where we will spend forever, time perfects beauty. In his realm, beauty is not a treatment; it's our destiny.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Following this list of the many activities and seasons in a lifetime is the profound statement that God "has made everything beautiful in its time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Beauty, then, is something that grows and forms over time. It's the big picture that results from all that weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing. Somehow, God uses all the circumstances in our life for our good (Romans 8:28). In the lifelong process of becoming Christ's princess bride, we develop a beauty that is not skin deep, but "Spirit-deep" (to quote this week's study).
Like Beth, I have looked at an old woman and said, "She must have been beautiful in her day." No, no! She is going to be beautiful. And so are you.
I wish you could hear Beth's inflection, but all I can do is repeat her words, which she repeated three times for emphasis: "Oh, you are gonna be GORGEOUS!"
As I heard those words, tears were streaming, and I was sobbing audibly. I was filled with both longing and joy, and I felt it as a literal pain in my chest--the kind of pain you feel when you witness something indescribably beautiful and pure.
How does God DO that? How does He find a way to speak exactly what I need to hear, at precisely the right moment? Just this week, even today, I was looking in the mirror and seeing the lines around my eyes and mouth, and scowling at the cellulite on my butt that wasn't there a few months ago. Even though I try so hard to strive for inner beauty, I can't help feeling sorrow and frustration at the inexorable battering of time on my body.
But what does that matter, when I compare it to the beauty God is creating in my heart? What does it matter, when one day I will stand before His throne in my royal robes and cast my crown at His feet?
Do You Feel It?
So tell me, does your destiny of eternal beauty thrill you as much as it thrills me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.