“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”—Jonah 2:8 (NIV)
Have you seen that quote attributed to Robert Mugabe? Lately, it has been all over social media. It goes [something] like this: “Don’t tell me that beauty lies inside; no one walks around with x-rays.”
That there, says a lot about how we define of beauty.
This world defines beauty as something you see. To conceptualise beauty, you have to lend your brain to the eyes, or the eyes take over the job description of the brain. But today I want to suggest that beauty is not what we see; it is what we seek. Let me also state that beauty is something, not just visible, but also tangible.
Beauty is a means to live—it is everything. We seek beauty because, we think, in it, we will find life: value, worth, meaning, purpose, satisfaction, approval, love, affection and comfort. We seek those things in beauty.
That is not all. We even go ahead and craft our own beauty—in other words, we define the beauty we want—and then go ahead and create it. You have heard a motivational speaker say that “your life is what you make it”, and then goes ahead to instruct you to “go for it.”
Everyone is guilty of creating beauty in little laughable things, in money, sex, knowledge, theology, work, talents, children, spouses, parents, property and many others. If you are reading this, then you have, in one way, shape or form sought salvation in any of the things above. You have looked to them for justification. They have acted as your ‘rock of edges to hide thee’—your messiah, so to speak.
Some months back, I was obsessed with the idea of going to Seminary (Theological School). I had submitted the required paperwork but then at the last minute, the officer concerned identified a loophole in my paperwork. It was so serious that it would take time and in the end, I would miss admission that year. I can’t tell you how I felt. That is one of the times that I told God how he had “gotten out of line and ultimately lost His grip on simple matters.”
I couldn’t believe that He was playing around with my ‘Divine calling’—to teach his Holy Scriptures to His people. As I walked the wide tarmac road, under the steaming heat of the sun, all I wanted was the ground to swallow me. I had no purpose. My sight then had become blurred as my eyes welled with tears. All the hopes of becoming something, or even ‘someone of note’ had been dashed into the rocky cliff of uncertainty. I was lost in the middle of no-where.
It was then that I realised how I had crafted beauty out of theology and how my thirst for more ‘knowledge about God’ (not knowledge of God) had been growing like an aggressive tumour inside my heart. My unsettling addiction towards learning about God instead of seeing and embracing God had become the altar where I worshipped without ceasing. I had created my own beauty—sought comfort and salvation in something smaller than Jesus—something laughable.
Would there be any hope for me? I had messed up big time, and it was all happening under my very nose. Yes! There was hope for the train-wreck that I am. Hear these words:
…this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the
forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.
I remembered Christ on whom my sins of idolatry were laid. The slain Lamb of God who took away my sins. Who became sin for me that I would become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). That His perfect righteousness was mine, by just gazing at Him who is forever righteous (Rom. 4:4-5). He is faithful to me even when I cannot be faithful to him (2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 6:9). My name is Nuwamanya Mategyero, and I am going to bet everything on His righteousness alone to get me home.
The only way you and I can resist the urge to create these crappy and creepy beauties is to see Jesus as Beautiful and in Him alone to find our comfort and salvation. “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2, ESV). That is my prayer daily, and I pray the same for you.
Image: Ottawa Life Magazine