“…People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7b
Have you ever noticed how family and friends are the hardest to right a wrong with? No matter how many years it has been since you drove the car through Grandpa’s pumpkin patch, someone is going to bring it up at the next family gathering. And no matter that you now have a doctorate degree, someone is going to remember that you failed first grade. Am I the only one with family and friends like that? Oh, it doesn’t bother me, I know who I was and who I am now, and so does God.
My heart goes out to those who have made even bigger mistakes, though. The world gets us down and wants to keep us there. We are constantly reminded of who we once were and if we don’t let God change us, really change us, we can fall right back where we were. The world wants us to believe that there is no hope, and there IS no hope in the world. But God is bigger than the world, and He is the Hope.
God does His work invisibly. He can change the hardest heart. He can heal the deepest addict. And He will. But the change happens on the inside and when we look at the outside, we still see the same person. And we doubt. How can we know our loved one is changed? Is there something we look for? Yes, we look for Jesus in their lives.
We look for compassion and humility. We look for selflessness and true repentance. And we look at where their strength comes from. We look at the same things that God looks at.
When I picked the rose in the picture above, I felt like I had the perfect rose. Each petal was perfectly shaped, a slight, gentle curve where new growth was taking place. And I thought, only God could make something so beautiful. And that was when it came to me; God was in the rose. If I only looked at the outside, I would miss the true beauty. I don’t want to do that with my prodigal child.
No matter what the outside is saying or doing, I want to see the beauty inside. I want to see the true healing that only Jesus can bring. And I want to believe.
Look closely at your loved one; look closely at the rose.