Not everything in life is pleasant. In fact, sometimes situations or locations in life that I find myself in just plain stink. There are times when I find myself in messy situations that or surrounded by people who I may not be very fond of, sometimes just because I don’t know what to do or other times because I am uncomfortable.
On my recent trip to Yellowstone, I was reminded of this when visiting wonderful springs and geysers. There are very beautiful things throughout the park, but surrounded by a horrible smell…the smell of sulfur. The Lord has created some unique things on this earth, and this is one location that I would tag in the “unique” category.
As I walked by these many heated springs, the light breeze would blow the thick, powerfully smelling steam right into my face. It was not really a pleasant sort of feeling or smell, but the colorful pools of water and flowing geysers were so intriguing. Seeing the beauty was well worth enduring the stink, even though that stink had the tendancy to permeate the car throughout most of the drive in the park.
What’s even more interesting is the number of people that are willing to subject themselves to intense heat (from both the steaming pools of water with hot, wafting steam hitting them and the sun beating down with no protection in sight) and that oh so less than pleasant smell.
But, unlike these unique and oddly beautiful (even though slightly smelling), we as people tend not to be so inclined to subject ourselves to getting to know the stinky situations (or even seemingly ugly ones) that people around us are facing in order to be at their side in prayer and as brothers in Christ until them come out to the other side where fresh air and beautiful scenery are present.
And even a step further, we tend not to sit down with and get to know people who smell like they haven’t showered in a week, or maybe a month, or those who we see as “ugly” in the world’s eyes. No matter what they look like on the outside, God has created them in His image too, which presents a sense of beauty that Christ Jesus’ freedom gives us.
It is one thing to go explore God’s created physical world, with its beauty, wonders and uniqueness and to praise Him for all that He has done. It is another thing to go explore the hearts of His created people and get to know the beauty inside their hearts and souls. And if they are struggling with ugliness on the inside, we are able to share the Gospel Truth that can set them free and give them the kind of beauty we travel miles to see.
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘Whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in who they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’” Romans 10:12-15
Uncomfortable or not, I am called to be a light of Christ, looking beyond outward appearance and unpleasantness, to share His Word and bring true beauty to the hearts of His created ones.