“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5 ESV
She was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. I can’t deny it. I stared at her. I don’t usually stare at people. I try not to anyway. I don’t make a habit of it, let’s just say. But I couldn’t help myself. She didn’t look like the typical “beautiful” cover-of-a-fashion-magazine, plastic-y “perfect” American woman. Not that I could see anyway. No “perfect” fancy clothing. No “perfect” makeup. No “perfect” zillion dollar hairdo. No “perfect” facial bone structure. No “perfect” courtesy-of-a-personal-trainer-and-zillion-dollar-gym body. No “perfect” tanning salon winter tan. Something about her face. Joy, yes, that was what it was. Pure, unadulterated, brilliant, light-emanating, light-spreading, contagious, vibrant, exuberant joy and light! The kind of joy that can’t stand still for long and light that can’t be contained – that can’t help but pour out of a person. Overflowing joy and light. She stood a good distance away from me in a church I was visiting for a Bible study.
“That’s my wife over there,” the man with whom I stood had said as he pointed to the radiant woman with the joyous smile. “She can help you with what you need.” I had been asking for help with something.
I went over and introduced myself. A little ways into talking, she said something I could barely hear. What was that? She spoke louder. Chemo.
“I just finished treatment for stage 4 breast cancer,” she said. She told me about what the Lord was teaching her, about her trust in Him for eternity with Him, how He had used her experience with cancer to reach herself and now others with a message. Clearly despite how grueling the treatment was, she knew He was right there with her. I was staring. Hard. At such joy. Vibrancy. In awe. Despicable the trivial things I complain about when moment by moment I can choose to do what this woman does. To look to Jesus Christ and radiate with His love, to shine His light all around. I had been staring at a reflection of Christ in this woman whose beauty I now know is the beauty of the Spirit of Christ alive and thriving inside her. I need to learn to not stare endlessly and hopelessly with complaint at my challenges but to look ever more to the One who is the perfect light, the giver of eternal life, the source of the joy and beauty this woman graciously shared.
Let us look to the Lord! Let us shine with His light! Let us rejoice in His love! Let us be beautiful as we radiate to the world all around His glorious everlasting light! This doesn’t mean we won’t have our challenges. We most assuredly will! But when we look to the Lord, we, too, can radiate with Christ Jesus, Lord, King, Savior of the world!