March 13, 2012
The Beauty of the Lord
"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
The jagged scar on his back may be gruesome to some. To me, it's a mark of beauty; a reminder of the love he showed that day.
It was suppose to be a day of wonderful memories with my husband's family in the foothills of South Carolina. The highlight of our trip would be Slippery Rock, a natural water slide in the cool Pisgah forest. However, under the guidance of a "local" we changed our plans to go to a different waterfall.
When we reached it, the waterfall wasn't quite what we were told. Unprotected. Steeper. Less water. No lifeguard, no stairs, no rope. Though disappointed, we vowed to make the best of it.
Greg watched the kids start down the sheer slope. Sensing everything was not as smooth as it seemed, he called to our nine-year-old daughter, "Wait for me, and we'll go together."
Hearing their laughter brought joy to my heart. But, then I caught my husband's eye and knew something was wrong. Greg had stuck out his leg, causing him and Madison to spin. Instead of her head slamming into the stone wall, Greg's bare back took the blow.
Our fun day ended then, with a trip to the emergency room. The four-inch gash on his back evidence he saved our daughter. Today, it's a thick red scar; proof of his love for his family.
Jesus also bears scars of love. Though I haven't seen them, I know they're there. I was naive and taking the course with no stairs, no rope, no lifeguard. I wanted to "live a little." Just before I crashed, I listened to Jesus' invitation: "Wait for Me; let Me get you out of harm's way and lead you." I fell into His accepting arms, rescued and safe.
Many times we want to go our own way, oblivious to the rushing power of sin that will smash us against this hard world. Thoughts such as "I can flirt with this sin; I just want a little fun!" or "I'm tired of responsibility. It's my turn. My kids will bounce back," or "I don't have to put up with him anymore. It's my life too," take precedence. Inevitable destruction follows. All along Jesus is at the top of the slope inviting us: "Wait for Me. Let's go together and I will lead you."
In the rush and roar of temptation, it's easy to miss Jesus' strength to rescue us. It's possible to overlook the scars; proof that His love held Him to a gnarly cross. I see the price He paid to protect me from my own destruction and know full well, it's a thing of beauty.
Dear Lord, help me look to You every day. Help me trust Your instructions and warnings, knowing that You love me more than I love myself. You are my first love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Reflect and Respond:
Is there someone you know who is at the top of a slippery slope and needs to read this? Pray for them and forward this devotion to them.
Is there any area in your life you are flirting with something dangerous to yourself? Your family? Confess this to Jesus. Tell Him you want to fall into His accepting arms and help you walk away from this danger.
If you answered yes, think of a friend you really trust with whom you can share this. Have them pray for you and hold you accountable.
Isaiah 53:3-5, "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (NIV)
© 2012 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 13 March 2012.