Facing the Inevitable

“l am as a wonder unto many, but thou art my strong refuge.” (Ps. 71:7)

I was making a hospital call on an old friend, not a member of our church, who had lived her three score years and ten, plus.  She was prepped for surgery; without the hair piece she normally wore and sans teeth.  Her son was sitting by her side.  I had not seen her for a couple of years and when I walked into the room, she looked at me in wonder and said, “My you’ve changed; you’ve lost your hair!”  I got a chuckle out of that.  At least I thought, she was not self-conscious (No, I don’t think they had given her anything yet to make her goofy).

It reminded me of another hospital incident a year or so earlier.  I was hurrying through the lobby to leave and one of the volunteers, a lady whose head was white with hair, was sitting at the desk probably waiting for flower deliveries.  I happened to pull a pocket comb out of my pocket to run it through my hair (why? Just an old habit) and she looked at me, a total stranger to her, and said, “not much there to comb is there?”  I walked by and pretended not to hear her (an old man without hair might be hard of hearing too!)

Age does a number on us; and no matter how many ointments we apply, it always seems to win!  Very few are able to really conceal their age.

But, inside, we do not feel that old.  I used to marvel when my parents would say, before the ravages of old age began to torment them physically on a daily basis, that they sure did not feel as old as they looked on the outside.  Now of course I understand.  Most usually I do not feel my age but a morning look in the mirror always confirms it.

We do not see ourselves as others see us.  If we did, my friend going into surgery would probably not have been thinking about how much I had changed but rather she might have been explaining that they had taken her hair piece and teeth away from her.  And, the aged candy stripper wouldn’t have been focusing on somebody else’s lack of hair had she gotten a fresh look at her own.

Nor do we see ourselves as God sees us.  He sees every blemish…all the wrinkles and warts inside and out.  Yet, we come to Him, I fear, with little or no thought of our own condition.  I need to take a long and lingering look at Him.  Then I will cry, “woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips….” (Isa. 6:5).  After Isaiah saw God in His holiness, he saw himself as dwelling in the midst of people like himself.  He had the same uncleanness that others had, compared to God in His holiness.  Thankfully, the believer can say that “our life is hid with Christ in God,” (Col.3:3) and thus we are “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6) to the praise of the glory of His grace! (Eph. 1:6)

May we ask our heavenly Father often to help us see ourselves as others see us; and to see ourselves as He sees us.

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