I would like to propose that the ugliest event in all the world, and all throughout time, is also the most beautiful. That event is the crucifixion of Christ.
See, my servant will prosper; He will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw Him. His face was so disfigured He seemed hardly human, and from His appearance, one would scarcely know He was a man. ~ Isaiah 52:13-14, NLT.
The scourging alone caused significant disfigurement, because the whip that was used was actually a cat-o’-nine-tails, and each cord of the whip had pieces of bone and metal embedded along its strand. Each time the whip struck its target, in this case the innocent Son of God, the pieces of bone and metal attached to the cords would dig into His skin, and more deeply into muscle, jerking pieces from His body as the Roman guard pulled the whip back to inflict another blow.
And as blow after blow dug more and more skin and muscle from His body, He lost more and more blood, and became increasingly disfigured, and appeared less and less human, and ultimately looked like not much more than a mass of quivering, moaning flesh.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. I think the worst of it was when He was on the cross, and was bearing the full weight of the sin of humanity on His shoulders. At that point God, being completely holy, could no longer look at Jesus, and had to avert His eyes. I think this was when Jesus cried out,
And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). ~ Mark 15:34, NIV.
It’s always seemed to me that what Jesus feared more than anything (when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating drops of blood [Luke 22:44] because He was in such anguish over what He knew was coming) wasn’t the physical torture of the scourging and the crucifixion. It was having to face God’s abandonment after having such close fellowship with Him over the three years of ministry, not to mention the whole of eternity past before He came to earth in the first place. That would be real torture, it seems to me, but He was willing to endure it if it meant regaining fellowship with humanity.
Jesus Christ had ~ and has ~ the most beautiful heart of all, and I’m grateful for His willingness to sacrifice everything for me to gain fellowship with the Father.
Love in action is beautiful, but it’s not a beauty that’s materially discerned, or discerned with the eyes. Love in action is perceived with the spirit.
This is my commandment: love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. ~ John 15:12-13, NLT.
I’ve discovered from my own life that God can take ugliness and turn it into something lovely,
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” ~ Isaiah 61:1-3, NKJV.
I’ve come to realize that beauty without accompanying scars is only skin deep. It’s beauty that hasn’t been earned, so to speak.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7, NKJV.
I know this to be true from hard personal experience. God has shown me that, while I might not be that attractive physically, I have a beautiful heart.
It used to bother me that I’m not physically very attractive, mostly because Harry used to tell me all the time that I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face. But it doesn’t trouble me anymore, because God showed me that He thinks I’m beautiful, and I’m much more interested in God’s opinion than I am in Harry’s.
If God thinks I’m beautiful, that’s all that matters to me. If God thinks I’m beautiful, then so do I. I like the idea of having a beautiful heart. It feels so much more meaningful than just having a pretty face, plus it makes all the pain and suffering I’ve experienced worth it, knowing that God was aware of my situation and was there, protecting me and keeping me alive through it all.
“They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” ~ Jeremiah 7:31, NLT.
It’s very comforting for me to know that, according to Scripture, God didn’t want me to be abused, but because He gave my abusers a completely free will which He couldn’t violate, He had no choice but to let it happen. However He kept me alive and protected me from the worst of it, and I can accept that. As long as I know that God was there working to help me, I can forgive those who abused me ~ especially because I know that they will have to stand before Him come Judgment Day, and they will get their recompense for everything they did to me, and it won’t be pretty.
I don’t want bad things to happen to them. I would much rather they turn and accept Christ as their Savior, but if they don’t they will be judged for what they did.
Well, I guess that’s it. I can’t think of anything else, and I’ve taken a lot of space and words to say this much. But it all needed to be said, I think, even if it is long.