Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pretty on the Outside

6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:6-7 NLT

Has anyone ever said to you "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it"? True, that. For twelve years, we lived in a certain neighborhood in our little hamlet. Every day, on my way to or from our home, I drove by one particular house and thought how wonderful it would be to live there! The large two story brick home had lots of windows, a graceful curved staircase leading to the front door, a beautiful patio, circle driveway, and a lovely yard. We lived in two terrific houses during our years in that neighborhood, but I always thought that house was extra special.

Recently, we sold our house, were not quite ready to build the next one, and had the opportunity to rent that "special" house. Let me tell you, "pretty on the outside" is not all it's cracked up to be! The house had been vacant for more than two years, and it took about six months of professional treatments to get the bug problem under control. Ew. The "beautiful" windows were difficult to open and close. It took several coats of paint (in shades from this decade) to make the interior pleasant. And the entire time we lived there, we battled a leaky foundation, no cell phone signal, drawers that didn't open, the world's smallest shower stall, high electric bills, scorching heat in certain rooms, arctic chill in others, and a "Wild Kingdom" of critters and varmints in the yard. In desiring that house, I had only looked at the exterior.

I love the verses above, where Samuel the prophet is sent by God to anoint the next king from among Jesse's sons. God doesn't choose the tallest, the strongest, the best looking...the one we would choose, based on how he looks. Instead, we get some insight into the nature and character of our Heavenly Father when we read that He doesn't look at "pretty on the outside", but instead looks at the heart when He chooses David over his brother Eliab. I don't know about you, but that gives me hope! Hope that when I see myself as unqualified, God looks at my heart, not my resume'. Hope that when I'm going through a challenging time, God looks at how those events will shape me for His service, not at the pain of the present. And I'm so grateful He doesn't answer all my prayers with "yes" (remember the house??), but instead, shapes the events of my life according to His eternal perspective. Because pretty on the outside isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, help me to desire the things You desire for me. The life You have chosen for me is not always easy or beautiful on the surface. When life is challenging, help me to remember that You see things I don't see, and help me to trust You as You guide my steps. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


JBurgi said...

This is exactly what I was needing to hear today. Thank you for this incredibly insightful post.

Leslie Oden said...

Thanks for your kind words, Jennifer. Glad it was a blessing :o) I spent a few minutes reading your blog...great stuff dude! Look forward to reading more!

Anonymous said...

Such a great blog Leslie! So true! Im so thankful that God doesnt look at my mess on the outside, but sees my inside, strait to my heart and knows how much I love Him.