He slipped back in the house yesterday morning to show me something. His forgetfulness.
Carelessly and without thought, he picked up his “pretty case” instead of his briefcase as he headed out the door for work. We had a good laugh, and then I had him re-enact his folly for my camera. Some pictures are worth the ink. This was one of them, and it got me to thinking.
Thinking about his caddy full of pretty…
Shaving cream. Razors. Mouthwash. Toothpaste. Lotion. Comb. Floss. Deodorant. Matrix Biolage hair gel. Yes, even my husband carries some “product” for his pretty.
Thinking about what he left behind—the one thing that normally accompanies him to the church office…
Somehow in his process of readying himself for the day, he reached for the ordinary to the exclusion of the extraordinary, and quite frankly, he felt exposed. Naked. Something not quite right as he stood at the edge of new day to embark upon the calling that has claimed his life.
A calling that values “heart product” over “pretty product.”
And a heart can never be prettied by creams and combs. It requires a deeper work…a stronger “product.” The cleansing work of the cross.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been given a rare privilege. We have been designated as the dwelling place of our Father. How precious is this Treasure. How fragile its frame. God designed us to be exactly so…as dusty earthen vessels, the contents of which contain more pretty than the world can fully absorb at first glance.
He is what makes us pretty. Not our outward attempts at fortifying the frame. He applauds and even celebrates our efforts at presentation, but when the day is over and the “pretty” has run its course, he ponders the condition of the heart that remains. The heart that contains his heart. The heart that will follow us into our tomorrow and into the day after that and into all of our days yet to come.
After awhile, our pretty wears thin and no amount of “product” can cover up the heart that lies beneath. We can try to conceal its pulse, but eventually our fragile clay begins to crumble to reveal the contents within. What pours forth…Who pours forth…is revealed by the light, and we stand as naked. Before God and before man. Exposed.
An untouched photograph that discloses our truth.
And the truth that God values more than our outward “pretty” is the inward product called grace. It is the one boasting allowed our mirrors. The one treasure allowed our fragile frames. The one Gospel allowed our lips. It is the only “heart product” that never wears thin and keeps its beauty long after the lights have dimmed and the world has gone home to find its rest.
Jesus is our “pretty” and Calvary’s accomplishing work is our calling. We are given the privilege of hosting its grace…every day. Within our clay parameters that were not meant for the applause of man, but, instead, meant for the breaking of a revealed radiance and a surpassing power that was never designed for containment. A carried treasure that, sometimes, is forgotten and covered up by our attempts at “pretty.”
I don’t about you, but I think that this has been a picture worthy of some ink…worthy of some words, and worthy of some further pondering as we prepare our hearts for exposure. God, alone, is worthy of a heart’s review. Man’s opinion is always flawed and often fatal. In the end, God’s opinion is always perfect and stands as final. And final sounds perfect to me, so this day I cast my heart before its Maker, and I ask him to make it–to make me–pretty.
Not for man, but for him. And so I pray…
Heal my heart, Lord, and make it pretty for you. Cleanse me from within, so that the radiance of your grace shines forth from the mirror of this face. Forgive my attempts at cover-up, and eliminate my desire for the same. I want to be a true portrait of your Gospel, and so I ask for you to cover me with the truth of Calvary’s gift. Let my beauty be birthed because of the cross. Not as I stand in front of the cross, but a beauty that finds its depth beneath and behind the cleansing blood of your surrender. You gave your Son to death’s embrace to make me pretty. Thank you for allowing such sacred beauty to be house within my clay. Humbly and with holy trembling, I carry my portion. Amen.