What lies beneath the surface, I so would want you to see. This struck me with great power, sadness and hope all at the same time. What incredible insight, artistry and creativity this speaks so boldly with such beauty. It’s my thought that blood, sweat and tears have soaked the ground beneath. The result is deep, blooming beauty that is most often missed from the “above ground” appearance of things. This is going to be a heart challenge to share with you. I feel exposed, vulnerable and at risk. I feel, deeply the exposure of others who are challenged in similar ways. All of us have our weaknesses and broken places and for the most part we compensate and smile and other people do not know. But for some of us, the broken places and weaknesses are placed on the outside, for everyone to witness. It’s an opportunity for me to reach deep into courage, perseverance and faith, trusting that God will use my journey to encourage others.
Sunset by Erika Pochybova-Johnson
This is a powerful illustration of my life right now. I’ve had the healthy body that moves past the “challenged” with regard and polite courtesy. Now I’m the one with the handicapped body. I’m the one that feels out of place: Different and without a place to fit like “normal people.” I see into the ‘handicapped life” where I so know, that I know, that I know, that appearances are deceptive. My family and I were at a Bama football game a while back, (no LSU was not playing) and our seats were at the very top. I mean third to last row, nose bleed section. I suspected something was wrong with me physically and felt fear in climbing, but Bucky was there to help me. It was a challenge. After I was seated, to much relief, I saw a little girl, climbing too, to the top with her daddy. She was maybe eight years of so, and I’m assuming she may have had cerebral palsy. Each and every step was a struggle. The effort tore through her little face. I’m sure her dad could have carried her for she was tiny, but I suspect she wanted to do it on her own. (I might know something about this fierce determination.)
I knew then, as I watched her, more than my body was changing. God was changing my heart by leaps and bounds. I felt my heart leap out of my body and learch at her heroism. I did not feel sorry for her, I felt deep compassion, but I was completely immersed in her climb. I could not take my eyes off of her. I was instinctively holding my breath with every move upward. I was stunned at how seriously she took just each step at a time and then I would see her lift her little eyes up one more step. I’ve got chills right now just reliving the scene in head. She made it to the top and was seated, only later, I was to watch her do it again to get popcorn.This little girl was my first ever, real, true blue hero. And she will never know. . .If I could have bestowed upon her an Olympic Gold Metal and had the whole stadium roar in applause, I so would have done it. I know the heavens were shaken in praise. As the stadium responded, vibrated with energy of the game, I imagined the witness in the heavens cheering this little precious one on, just one more step. Each step took her Kingdom life far past the goal zone into heaven’s waiting arms.
What is Kingdom significant here is that things are not as they appear. The appearance of things, strips and dulls the Kingdom Reality. What is Kingdom significant here is that I don’t think most of us know what lies beneath the surface in other people’s lives. Our eyes “surf” the landscape of other people’s lives and we make assumptions of what is there. I did 😦 What is Kingdom significant here is that the kind of blossoming we are pondering and pressing into goes well below a challenging handicap . . .There is a blooming you cannot see. . .underneath. . . It’s reaching with growing branches and miraculous colors into the heavenly realms. The odd truth is that growth like what we see here below the surface of the tender hearts of the challenged. . .It would not tolerate the scorcing sun, or the blistering snow, or the harsh hurricane winds that would shred the delicate beauty. In heaven, though, just below what we see above ground. This type of delicate, intrinsic, beauty flourishes in the hearts longing for heaven.
My family and I are learning to see people differently. The redemptive growth in our hearts is exploding with compassion but also deep respect and admiration for what lies beneath the surface. Their is a different type of beauty in the trials and tribulations of the challenged. I hesitated to write about “handicapped.” Why, because it’s an image that is not regarded with worldly beauty. Why, because I don’t know that I can see myself there. Why, because it feels “too hot” to touch. Why, because I could choose to write around it and make it more comfortable for all of us, especially for me. But that is not God’s way, and Jesus saw beauty below the surface, so too are we called to see, differently. I’ve been treated with deep respect and kindness with my challenges. This is not about other people’s behavior. It’s about a shift in perspective that challenges beauty forward. The main shift in perspective began with me. None of us choose “ashes” or “garments of mourning” but God in His goodness, gives us beauty and the oil of joy and a garment of praise for our “spirits of heaviness.” Don’t miss the reference to trees of righteousness, below. God pulled this Blog together. (I had it going in a different direction.)
AND SO BEAUTY GROWS IN WAYS OUR IMAGINATIONS CANNOT BEGIN TO COMPREHEND BENEATH THE SURFACE
What you see next gives you access to the Strong’s Concordance Numbers. Because Isaiah is in the Old Testament, these are meanings from the original Hebrew text. (New Testament was written in Greek.) Researching into the original meaning will be greater understanding and insight on God’s Word of Truth for you. Here you can clink on a link to Strong’s Explanation of a word or concept you would like to understand with greater depth.
Blue Letter Bible Resource
To appoint 7760 unto them that mourn 57 in Zion 6726, to give 5414 unto them beauty 6287 for ashes 665, the oil 8081 of joy 8342 for mourning 60, the garment 4594of praise 8416 for the spirit 7307 of heaviness 3544; that they might be called 7121 trees 352 of righteousness6664, the planting 4302 of the LORD 3068, that he might be glorified 6286 .