"... for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
~ I Samuel 16:7
We have all heard the proverbial, "Don't judge a book by the cover." This saying reminds us that there is often more to a person than what you see on the outside.
Years ago one of the members of my first church I was called to pastor had a member, Mary. When I first met Mary she was already one of the oldest members of the church, and had already lived several years away from her husband, being cared for in a nursing home, as he was even older than her and could no longer care for her daily needs.
I remember walking into her room, she was turned away from me, covered in a worn quilt blanket that I learned she had put together from dresses she had worn over the years. Only a few family photos were on the wall. "Mary? Is that you?" There were two beds in the room, both occupied, and the way it was set up I couldn't figure out which one is Mary.
"Yes, I'm here."
I could tell where the voice came from and I worked my way to the side of the bed where I could see her face.
I remember telling her my name, and who I was. She cordially greeted me, and then I will never forget what she told me next, "Don't let this old woman laying in this bed fool you. I am a powerful prayer warrior. I am always talking with God. You have something to be prayed for, you should let me know. I will pray all day about it."
Suddenly my whole image of her changed. I saw what she described, and I realized that in her weakness she had discovered a greater purpose. Over the next year, and even up to her death, I knew that Mary was praying.
We all have things that people don't realize about us. Our society has become visual commentators, focused on appearances. Instead of asking, "Can you hear me now," as the commercial asks, we really should be asking, "Can you see me now?"
When we look in the mirror, what do you see? The image of God, or the image of "Me?"
Years ago while helping to feed a group of homeless youth, I happened to look down at the shadows being cast on the street. It was then that I realized that all the shadows were the same color. While each person was wearing different clothes, had different colors of skin, and were all a variety of ages and gender, I realized I was getting a glimpse of how God looks at us. To God, there are no "book covers." Only children created in God's image.
Imagine the world, and each other, in the way that God looks at the world. Imagine how different it might look.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.