Just yesterday, I picked apples from our trees, peeled and cored them, and then made a delicious pie.
We do not treat our trees with chemicals, so some of the apples had flyspeck and sooty blotch, which made them kind of ugly. Though they were ugly, misshapen, and spotted, they were used to create something delicious and beautiful.
Their appearance didn’t define their purpose or their good. Sounds familiar, right? Our appearance or the appearance that we put on doesn’t define our worth. We know that God sees our hearts. In 1 Samuel 16:7, we read, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
Our friends and family can see us in church on Sunday; they can see us donate to various organizations and ministries; they can hear prayer flow from our mouths; and they can even see our Bible, color coded with lots of notes; but that's where it stops. They cannot see what God sees: our hearts. God sees our real wants and desires. He sees our real fears and hears our thoughts. He sees the things we choose over Him, over reading our Bibles, and over praying. He knows where our hearts are postured. Which brings me to these questions: Are we focused on what man sees or are we turning to The One who created the universe, desiring Him and only Him? Are we comfortable where we are and praying for the continued blessings of comfort; or are we praying for God's will in our lives, despite the level of comfort it may bring? Will we be OK if God strips it all from us and asks us to yearn for only Him?
These are really hard questions to think about, right? Job, a man who lost everything -- his possessions, his children, and his health, fell to the ground in worship, crying out to God, saying, “… Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh” (Job 1:21).
Praising God when everything is falling apart, praising God through loss, praising God through hardship, praising God through financial troubles, praising God through tense relationships, and praising God through everything that's not picture-perfect - that’s powerful.
Can we trust God with all that we have? Can we hand it all over to Him in surrender, and know in the depth of our hearts that He has us, and He is still good? Or do we want to keep pretending that we’ve got everything under control?
The pie I made only took a few hours from start (picking the apples) to finish (eating the pie). If we can take things and turn them into beautiful things in just a few hours, imagine what God, the creator of the universe, can do with us over the course of our lives when we move out of our comfort zones. If we can create art, businesses, books, movies, etc. over the course of our time here, imagine what Jesus, God in the flesh, can do with us when we walk in His freedom and love. If we can grow gardens and delicious food and raise up tiny humans over the course of our lives, imagine what the Holy Spirit, God in us, can do with us when we surrender to Him.
Friends, wherever you are today, it’s not too late to lean in, offer surrender, and trust our God who created us and can do far more than we can ever imagine. “Lord my God, You have done many things — Your wonderful works and Your plans for us; none can compare with You. If I were to report and speak of them, they are more than can be told” (Psalms 40:5).
Have a nice week, friends, and remember God ”... is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us..." when we let Him (Ephesians 3:20-21).