Extraordinary Time

Is it a strike or a blast? Is it an aid or a bribe? Is it news or propaganda? Do you think you have an extraordinary situation needing extraordinary measure? Maybe an extraordinary story that people find it hard to believe? You’re not alone. Can’t believe that there are still people who think they have the right to take someone’s life because they can’t get what they want, as if wanting something for whatever reason is enough to make a claim, fire a shot, or make up a lie. Whatever become of progress? It seems that we are seeing the worst time as prophesied in the Bible:

“In the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power.’

Say, when will we ever learn? It seems there is really “nothing new under the sun.” Unless we learn the same lessons Noah did, we might not see the rainbow this time, but the scorching fire of judgment instead. Here it is for a reminder:

See Me?

We want people to see us, notice us. We might even get offended if ignored. We also want to be seen at our best. So we spend a lot to improve our look. But then we also say not to “judge a book by its cover.” Sounds contradictory. Which one you agree with? But both are true. Appearance can be misleading or helpful, depends on the situation. In a society and generation that emphasizes appearance, I’d make sure I look carefully, train myself to be better at assessing the cover, for ignoring appearance does not ensure that we make better judgement either. Do you know it is actually against nature since we are given eyes to see? Looks matter. Looks tell a lot. Not just our age or form, but also our preference, lifestyle, emotional state, personality, even your past, health, religion, and capability. So instead of discounting how we look and what we see, be better at it. How well are we doing?

Appearance communicates so why not make the most of it? Fishermen look at the clouds and the color of the sky before heading out to the water. Jewelers look beyond the surface to see if a gem is genuine. Hollywood stars use professional stylists to their advantage as do politicians for their public image. Cosmetic is readily available, and now, we can even airbrush photo. The trend is still to look impressive. We continue to rely on what we observe to assess and decide, which is understandable. But somehow, have we overdone it, becoming gullible of what people say about us based on our look?

God has a purpose beyond what we can see. “Go to the ant, observe her ways and be wise.” Proverbs 6:6 They “are creatures with little strength, but they prepare their food in the summer.” Shrewd ants are in charge of their lives though they contend with creatures zillion times bigger. There’s 20 quadrillion of them of earth! How did that happen? God’s plan is to reveal, heal, restore, employ the real you.

This concern is important as it makes us dependent on our outer look to represent the real you, relying on other’s approval for for our sense of worth. So probably the greatest problem lies with us. We are still prone to misjudge ourselves and believe our harshest critics. The boom of surgical beauty, sex reassignment clinics, rapid fashion trend cycles all point to our discomfort with ourselves, our propensity to compare looks and compete, all make us dependent on how people perceive us.

If i need to imitate another’s look, sex, skill, lifestyle, to feel validated and fulfilled, then I could have become someone’s slave in some ways already. We alter the parts we do not like, hiding our insecurity. We tend to emphasize the parts we want people to notice, or thought they would while sacrificing our real assets, We constantly notice in others what we think we lack. We become depressed when we cannot get the look, or when we hear an opinion? Not a good trade off and certainly not necessary nor sane.

There are people who need new pairs of glasses. Others just need more time to mature. Granted some of us may have to live with physical imperfections, we all need and can educate ourselves where to look, what to emphasize, for our real identity, worth and power.

You may have heard already that God does not create junk. Here’s another thought: God’s plan is to reveal, heal, restore and employ the real you only.

Quick check: Is there an inner quality you have, the real you, that you do not see, that needs to be seen today?