A favorite activity of our 2 and 4 year old granddaughters on “sweepover” nights is playing “Flashlight Tag” with Pappy & Grammy. The popular children’s game of Hide-and-Seek can be traced back to second century Greece. It’s a game that most anyone reading this probably played as a child. The game resurfaced in our household when grandchildren came along, with Uncle Nick being “It” and little Junie hiding in the same spot every time under the covers in the bed of “The Toy Story room.” She would run back through the hallway giggling and diving under the covers of that bed, convinced that she was fooling Uncle Nick and that he would not be able to find her this time!
Our game of Hide-and-Seek evolved into a game which we now call Flashlight Tag. This game has become a routine for us played on sleepover nights after the sun goes down and before bedtime stories. The past 2 weeks of Christmas vacation included countless rounds of Flashlight Tag. The team of Hiders uses their flashlights to find a good hiding spot and after shouts of “Ready, Set, Here We Come!” the team of Seekers uses their flashlights to locate the Hiders. Flashlight Tag with 2 and 4 year olds is highly entertaining …. flashlights left on while in their hiding spots, laughter coming from the places of hiding, hiding over and over in the same locations, and shouts of surprise when a hider is found!
On Sunday morning, our last day of Christmas vacation together before their drive to the airport, we did something different together by holding “House Church” at Pappy and Grammy’s. We read the Bible story of Jonah and sang songs and talked about how Jonah ran from God. Like 2-year old Ellie playing Flashlight Tag and thinking that she could leave the flashlight turned on while under the cover and not be found, Jonah mistakenly thought that he would not be visible to God if he went in a direction opposite of Ninevah, the place where God had commanded him to go. Jonah thought that he could run from God. He thought that by boarding the ship sailing for Tarshish that he could avoid obeying God’s voice. He ran, but he could not hide. The cover of the ship did not keep God from finding Jonah’s hiding spot. [Jonah 1]
Our 4 year old granddaughter has improved her skills in Flashlight Tag. She stays quiet when hiding, she doesn’t leave on her flashlight, and she now tries to find unique and different hiding locations. She understands that even when putting a lot of effort into hiding that sooner or later she will be found. Do you wonder why Jonah had the idea that he could avoid God’s plan for him to speak to the people of Ninevah? How could he have not realized that no matter how far he traveled that he wouldn’t escape God’s presence? Why did it take something as drastic as being in the belly of a great fish for three days for Jonah to submit to the will of God? Will God need to get your attention or my attention by appointing a great fish to swallow us?
HOPE NUGGET: “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.” [Jonah 2:2]
The term “beauty” usually brings to mind that which has an aesthetic quality or is pleasing to look at. “Beauty,” as defined by Webster’s College Dictionary is the quality of a person or a thing that gives pleasure to the senses. Upon researching the Internet for articles on beauty, there was an abundance of information on beauty and how to attain beauty. The majority of this information had to do with the outward beauty that has been defined. Beauty though, involves much more than outward appearance alone. Beauty can be found in the depths and the innermost being of a person.
Our society is inundated with information and images that force the idea that beauty relates solely to the external and physical qualities of a person. My research on the Internet is a perfect example of this. After searching through dozens of websites concerning beauty, it was difficult to find any that had to do with beauty other than from the standpoint of physical beauty. At vogue.com, you’ll find “everything you need to know about the latest beauty trends and styles.” Walgreens.com provides the ability to shop for beauty products and supplies, stating that you can “make the season bright” for someone by purchasing “makeup, fragrance and more.” Articles like these are typical of what is available while searching for “beauty” on the Internet.
While difficult to find alternative sources to the usual viewpoint on beauty, there were a few that did offer a different definition to the meaning of the word. The book entitled Beauty by the Book written by Nancy Stafford points out that real beauty has more to do with who we are. Ms. Stafford writes that “Inner beauty – knowing who we really are – is the message closest to my heart because it’s been a lifelong search and a long, hard journey to reach the point where I really believe and feel that I am worth something, that I have value, that I am beautiful.” If a person feels that they have value, it is likely that they may recognize beauty as being much more of an inward quality than an outward quality.
The Bible also speaks on the subject of beauty. There are references made to physical beauty, however in the verses of Romans 10:15 and Isaiah 52:7, it is clear that beauty is seen as actively serving. It might sound strange, but the Bible also has some important things to say about our feet. In a search, I found 100 Bible verses having to do with feet. The verse in Romans was written by Paul, an apostle of Christ and was referencing a statement by Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet. The verse in Isaiah says: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!'” This is the ultimate example of beauty: having “beautiful feet” by sharing the good news of God’s love with others.
Our family is acquainted with several missionary families who I would put into the category of being beautiful people. They may not appear to be beautiful by the standards of the world, but are beautiful to those who have benefited by their sacrifice and commitment to serving. A couple with their three teenage sons who live in Bolivia and work teaching English and sharing God’s love with the people there are beautiful people. A young adult couple with four children living in Papua New Guinea for the purpose of sharing the Gospel of Jesus and working side by side with the PNG natives are beautiful people.
Many celebrities who are deemed as “the most beautiful people” are not necessarily those who would fit into the previous category, yet they are elevated and held to a high status simply due to popularity and good looks. I believe that it is more important to have beautiful feet than a beautiful face. If we would learn to be more concerned with “serving” and less concerned with “self,” the obsession with beauty that we witness daily would surely diminish. Society would have us believe that we must measure up to those images that we see on television or in magazines. Ms. Stafford says “This I know: Real beauty isn’t what we see in magazines or on movie screens, and it doesn’t depend on the opinions of others or the changing tastes of culture. True beauty is seeing ourselves as God sees us, reflected in the mirror of His Word.” If we depend on the opinions of others to determine whether or not we are beautiful, we are assured of being disappointed sooner or later. Our looks will change; we will grow older, maybe fatter, maybe grayer, or maybe balder. Those characteristics should not be the measures used to determine real beauty.
The constant bombardment of images from television, books, magazines, billboards and the Internet has helped to keep the concern for beauty always before us, and a constant reminder of the expectation to look beautiful. It is difficult to escape its influence and to somehow not be affected by the pressure to improve. The way that beauty is viewed is different for each person. Some tend to focus more on those outward features, while others are able to look beyond and see the value of character and actions as contributing to the loveliness of an individual.
The church I attend, Grace Fellowship, holds a weekly prayer meeting. Once a month, rather than gathering for our meeting within the church walls, we take our prayer meeting to the streets of our small community. Sometimes our group of pray-ers stays together and sometimes we divide into smaller groups. We spend the hour walking the streets, stopping to pray for the occupants at each home. Sometimes during those walks, we have the opportunity to talk with the folks who are outside. Sometimes they ask us what we’re doing so we let them know that we’re praying for them. By doing so, we are sharing the love of Christ and perhaps opening the door for the Gospel message to be shared.
My experiences in life, such as my interactions with missionary friends and prayer times with my church family, have influenced the way I see beauty. I am more inclined to see beauty in those who sacrifice by giving of themselves than I am in those who are photographed and paraded before us because of their appearance. I have been privileged in knowing a number of people who I would say have beauty emanating from their lives. These are people who give of their time, talents, and treasures and live every day making sacrifices for the betterment of others. They are those who pray, serve, and share the Gospel of Christ. They are those who have “beautiful feet.”
HOPE NUGGET: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. [Proverbs 31:30]