In my life, I have met three men whom I could only describe as beautiful. I couldn’t really think of any other way to describe them — handsome wasn’t exactly what I was talking about. They were just stunningly, unbelievably, breathtakingly beautiful. Here is how I described one of them: “In him, God has created a masterpiece. It’s not just his looks — it’s everything about him. It’s the depth in his eyes when he’s thinking. It’s the way his heart shows in his actions. It’s the way he responds to God in worship.”
Beauty has become a descriptor which we attribute only to women, or to delicate and feminine things like flowers and sunsets and snow. We don’t typically think of men being beautiful…
…or two perpendicular beams of blood-stained wood…
…or the God that died there.
But one day I was reading Psalm 27 and noting all the characteristics of God that were mentioned. I paused for a moment when I came to verse 4 — “that I may gaze on the beauty of the Lord.” God? Beautiful? I had to think about this. In a world where “beauty” is constituted by a sexy body and eyeliner and perfect hair, I wasn’t sure how to process what it really meant as a description of God.
But as I thought about it, I remembered God’s declaration of His creation: “It is good.” It was…beautiful. Because God created beauty, I realized, maybe He’s the only One who knows what it really means. Maybe beauty is some kind of mysterious, intangible concept, inseparable from the reality of being fashioned by the hand of a beautiful God. Maybe beauty is simply the quality of being made in His image. Maybe beauty is everything God is, and everything He desires us to be.
This began to make sense to me as I thought about the three guys. The first time I ever thought a guy was beautiful was when I saw a picture of him holding a baby goat. Kinda random, but there was something about the gentleness and simplicity of it that was attractive. The second time I thought a guy was beautiful, it was a pretty ordinary setting, but a powerful moment. He was sitting on a couch across the room from me during a time of worship, and his faraway gaze happened to catch my eye. It was like that line from the Benjamin Francis Leftwich song, “I know if I find what you hide in your mind, I’ll get lost in it.” There was something beautiful going on behind that contemplative gaze. The third time I thought a guy was beautiful, he was literally on his knees on the ground crying out to God. It was so raw and…well, beautiful. However, the word “beautiful” has never crossed my mind for a shallow, lazy, or arrogant guy. Ironically, I never find guys attractive when they try to prove their worth or impress girls. Beauty comes from who they are in the little moments, when the rest of the world is forgotten.
Last Wednesday when I was leading small group, my junior high girls and I were talking about the description of Jesus in Revelation 1 and the unlikely aspects of beauty. I briefly shared with them about the concept of beauty being the image of God, and one of the girls commented, “I think it’s so beautiful to see a guy worshiping with his eyes closed and hands raised, not caring what anybody else thinks of him.” Several other girls agreed: “Seriously, the most unattractive thing ever is when a guy thinks he’s too cool to be in love with God.”
Thinking about all of this, I came to realize what “beautiful” really means: Guy or girl, we are beautiful when we become what we were created to be and do what we were created to do. When we can return to the ideal for which God designed us, when we realize our full potential as His creation made in His image…that is when we truly attain beauty. Beauty is in the intricate workings of the mind, in creative expression, in a surrendered heart, in unconditional love. Beauty is in everything that reflects the very heart of God.
Girls, two lessons for you here: first, beauty isn’t what the world tells you it is. They distorted the definition. They got it wrong. Chasing after things that will make you attractive by the world’s standards only draws you away from true beauty. Chase after God and His beauty, and when you become the woman He designed you to be, that is when you are truly radiant.
Second, never marry…or date…or give a second thought to a guy who doesn’t have beauty that takes your breath away. They’re few and far between; in 20 years, I’ve only met 3. But trust me, you want a man who is seeking God’s highest potential for him, and a man who will amaze you for the rest of your life.
Wait for a beautiful man, in the image of a beautiful God.