The Invisible Soul Patch
July 18, 2009 § 2 Comments
This past Sunday I told our church about my annual summer growth of facial hair. Such changes often become the center of interesting conversations and comments: ‘Hey, preacher, did you break your razor this morning?’ ‘What’s that growing under your lip there?’ All followed by good-natured laughs. One of my favorites comes from a stately woman in Miami, who would say (in all seriousness, I might add), ‘You look so handsome without that.’ But every summer, never fail, after weeks on the beach, and to some extent, to celebrate yet another year of pretending to live a surfer’s life, some form of facial hair is grown – sort of like my summer Mr. Potato Head arrangement – or that hairless man you style with ‘hair’ by navigating little shavings of metal with an accompanying magnet (that never gets old!).
The crazy thing is this – On Sunday, because my beard is where my hair has chosen to turn mostly gray, and because it doesn’t grow out very thick, no one even knew what I was talking about – they couldn’t see it! Within days, in interacting with people I realized this, as they would say things like, ‘Oh, you do have something there.’ Such affirmations of my manhood…
Actually this illustrates a truth from the Gospel – that we are far more than anyone can see by looking at externals. There is more to the ‘package’ than meets the eye for any of us. Each of us knows the ugliness that resides deep beneath the surface, and all have had that lousy feeling of being praised on the outside while grieving dark hearts and broken lives. We bear scars that most will never know and experiences that we hope will remain buried in time.
I’m fortunate – my wife and daughters like the attempts (and even the beard), so I’m safe where it matters most. But so many don’t feel safe with their secrets. They feel exposed even where none can see – because they know what is inside – for them it feels as though it is all out there. ‘If anyone knew…’ they think.
But God does know. In fact, the good news is that God knows what others don’t. The cold distances, bright lights and fast pace of life don’t obscure His view. He knows who we are and He loves us in Jesus. It’s that simple, really. The Gospel finds us unfinished and the God of the Gospel sees what others miss (1 Samuel 16:7) and loves us that way – until we get Home.
This is good news.