Monday, May 6, 2013

Beauty in the Broken

Seriously, what is my problem?

I have yet to figure out why my heart breaks in the most ridiculous ways, and why it is naturally drawn to the things it is drawn to. I also haven't figured out why I do not delight in the same things that a lot of my friends delight in.  Let me explain. 

I don't respond to nature the same way most people respond.  A lot of people I know worship God when they are gazing up the sunsets and the sunrises.  Or when they see sun rays penetrate through the trees creating bursts of shine and color.  Or when they see the ocean waves, as they fearlessly flow in combination of finesse and dominance.  Or when they see the snow capped mountains as they glisten in the distance.  Or when they see the flowers at first bloom with their intoxicating aromas. Or when they see the trees begin their discoloration showing early signs of Fall.

And here I am, finding myself staring at the sky at a storm approaching in admiration.  I shudder in awe at it's beauty.  I also find myself mesmerized by a picture of a tornado, bending and destroying all in its path.  I can't get over this thought, "That thing that's destroying homes and lives is just organized and compressed winds?"  The thought of that causes something deep in my soul to jump in excitement even though I know that lives are in jeopardy,  but for some reason I'm amazed at God when I see it.  Even when I went on a cruise, I remember sitting at the edge of the ship and trying to enjoy the sun-setting over the horizon.  But I was more concerned of the unknown and the depths of the water this ship was passing through.  The thought of God creating all of this and only He knows what's beneath this ship.  Only He knows how deep the oceans go.  Only He knows...and again I start to worship God.

I really don't know what my problem is.  Looking back, I see that I have always stayed clear of things that were hyped up, even though I probably would have enjoyed it.  I remember never liking the girl that every other guy liked.  I remember when I stopped trying to fit in with a specific crowd-- all the crowds had flaws and inconsistencies that I didn't like about them.  I'm turned off by arrogant show offs.  "Stop pretending, you're broken just like everyone else".  I'm turned off by things that get praised more than it deserves.  I get annoyed when people are clearly looking for attention.  I get annoyed with the facades and veneer.  I do not like the fact that people cannot be honest about their feelings because everyone tells them not to.  I do not like that beautiful smiles can show joy, but can also hide evil.  I do not like that its easy for so many people to come to church and pretend to be in love with Jesus but are really enemies of the cross because of how they act.  I do not like that its easy for hurting people to come to church and never feel loved.  I do not like it when someone doesn't feel included.  I do not like it when people pick on people.  I do not like when someone doesn't like God because His children cannot get their attitudes in check.  I do not like that churches focus a lot on making pretty and excellent and happy services. I do not like it that as a black man I still get treated strange if I dare date someone outside of my race.  I do not like traditions.  Anything people can say, "well we've always done this", I think are easily deceived and are lucky that this "tradition" is not a dangerous cult.  I do not like that people will not investigate and search God for themselves, but instead they'll just depend on whatever the pastor tells them.  I do not like that we are broken and blind.  I do not like that sin controls people and that Satan will conquer them.  I do not like that people reject Jesus.  I do not like that many of my friends will go to Hell because they won't respond to the truth.  I do not like that Christianity is seen as a joke in our culture, therefore people think Jesus is a joke, therefore missing out on the BEST AND GREATEST LOVE THEY WILL EVERY EXPERIENCE.   I do not like that girls can be pretty and "make it" far in life, and the less attractive girls have to figure out something else to do.  I do not like that the prosperity Gospel is leading people astray, robbing and cheating them from enjoying God in His fullness.  I do not like that churches will not preach the Gospel, especially since it is the very depth and essence of God's love for us.  I do not like that my heart cannot pretend like everyone else's heart seems to be able to.  I do not like that I cannot turn off my feelings.  I do not like that I get easily connected and attached to people.  I can barely do my job as a bellman at the hotel I work at without wanting to befriend some of the guests.  I've had guests pull away from the hotel and I'm nearly in tears because I'll never see them again.

Seriously, what is my problem?

For some reason, I'm drawn more to the ugly and broken.  The dolled up girls and the ones with beautiful smiles and sweet voices, I'm glad they have been protected and loved and are very confident and assure of themselves.  I love that.  I do not disagree with that.  But for some reason, I'm not interested in the sunsets.

I'm more interested in the storm.  The mysterious "calm before the storm" excites me.  Like, you don't know how bad it's going to be! I'm more interested in the dirty,  the rejected, the misused and the insecure.  I'm more interested in the ones with the issues.

I remember having a friend that trusted me enough that she told me her entire past, and I remember the more she told me of her horrible past the more I was drawn to love her.  She was accustomed to people running in the opposite direction because of her brokenness, and she didn't know how to respond to a friend doing the opposite, running towards her.  Little did she know, and probably many of you, this is really the reason why I love this man named Jesus.  He seems to love like I love.  Or, shall I say, I find myself loving how He loves.

I remember the first time I understood the glory of Jesus.  The power and the majesty, that He was God in the flesh.  GOD!

God.  In the flesh.  The Holy of Holies.  The Creator.  The...EVERYTHING, came in the flesh to this filthy and stupid world.  He came to be with us crazy people.  He for some reason loved the broken.  "God, we're fine", we like to pretend, but He saw through the smiles and the sacrifices and saw that deep down we were not okay.  THANK GOODNESS HE SAW THROUGH OUR FAKE SMILES.  So in His glory and for His glory, He came to be with us and even took on our sin.  Please wrap your head around that.

God, in the flesh, came to become sin so that we may become the righteousness of God.  Yes, He adores the beautiful things, but He loves the broken things as well.  And He turns ashes into beauty.  How?  He knew it could be done.  He knew the ashes could be made beautiful.  He didn't step over the ashes or drive past them or reject the ashes, but for some reason..................but for some reason, He loved us enough to bring the filthy and the broken and the ones offending Him, spitting at Him, rebelling against Him, He chose to bring us into fellowship with Him by slaying and crushing His son....and in Ephesians it even says He took pleasure in it.  What kind of love is that?

That's why I love Jesus.  That's why I adore the broken things.  And that's probably why I love art.  Taking a blank piece of paper and producing art.  No one takes beautiful art and makes it prettier.  The mundane and the plain, turned beautiful because a creative artist loves it enough to do so.

So your smile does not impress me.  Your answers, "I'm doing fine." Does not fool me.  Want to know a secret about me?  If I ever ask you how you're doing and I'm staring at you waiting for you to answer, this is why.  I'm searching you, looking for the truth behind your answer.  If you are really fine, hey, that's beautiful and wonderful.  Of course that's what I'm hoping for you to be---is fine.

I remember reading Redeeming Love, a fiction book based on the book Hosea in the Bible.  The main character in the book, Michael Hosea, feels God called him to marry this prostitute.  And it's a love story that is symbolic of Jesus marrying His bride, the church--you and me.  And we've been incredibly unfaithful in this marriage.  I love that God uses the word prostitute.  The definition when not being used as a person selling themselves for sex is this: to devote to corrupt or unworthy purposes.  So here is Jesus, being extremely faithful to His bride---and what are we doing--devoting ourselves to corrupt desires and unworthy purposes.  

I'm thankful that true love is ugly.  If it wasn't, Jesus would have bailed and went to a prettier and more faithful bride.  But our security in our salvation is that He is in covenant with us---faithful----here to stay.  Nothing can separate His love from us, because He chose to love us...He found beauty in the broken.     

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