God Cares About What You Look Like
Before the right-wing conservative Christian folk cry out “heresy”, let me clarify that I am not saying that Jesus prefers blondes over brunettes. But I will say that I believe God cares very deeply about our physical appearance.
Years ago a friend of ours stood in our kitchen sharing just pieces of the vast knowledge he had accumulated during his time at Seminary (a Lutheran term for pastoral college). While I didn’t agree with everything he said, one thing he said stuck out above all the rest, and that thing came back to haunt me this week. He had this ‘crazy’ theory that in heaven we would still be able to recognize each other because we would look like our 30 year old self. Not sure how I felt about this idea, despite his biblical reasoning, I stuffed it in a box labeled “possibilities” and shoved it in the back of my mind for the time being.
Skip forward 4 years, and I come across a book called, “Heaven is for Real,” by Pastor Todd Burpo who tells the account of his four year old son, Colton, who claims to have visited heaven during a near death operation he underwent. Colton’s story is very convincing and his claims are substantiated by evidence that is difficult to refute, even for the most skeptical of readers. Colton’s description also details a heaven where we still look like ourselves, only it is the late 20’s/early 30’s version (despite how old we are when we die). When I read it, I realized this was not the first time someone had come up with this claim. And I started to think, “what if it’s true?”
Truth be told, I was kind of hoping to trade in these thunder thighs, only accentuated by my less-than-impressive hips, for a newer model (like super model if you know what I mean ;) At hearing this, my super Christian friends roll their eyes, take a moment to chuckle over my concern, and loving tell me in their ‘holier-than-thou’ way that “It doesn’t matter what we look like in heaven.” All the while invalidating my concern as if God doesn’t care. After all, the Bible says, “1 Samuel 16: 7, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” So if He doesn’t judge us by our appearance, then He must not care about it, right?
After I had discovered that we would still have to look like ourselves in heaven I thought one of two things; Either A.) He doesn’t care at all how we look (which would explain why He wouldn’t bother to change all the things about my physical appearance that I hate), or
B.) He cares very much about the way I look, so He wouldn’t want that to change. What I mean is that maybe God, who is both Creator and Artist, made no mistake in the way He carefully designed every part of me. Leaving nothing to chance, right down to the smallest detail, He sculpted each one of us, like His own personal masterpiece, every body a work of art. Not seeing one as better than the other, nor short as better than tall, nor blue eyes as better than brown. Maybe all are beautiful in the Master’s hands. It is we who have decided that one feature is better than the other, not God.
I tried to think of two things I could look at without judging that one is more beautiful than the other. As a woman, this was no easy task, but I thought “Tools. I don’t think a hammer is prettier than a screwdriver. I don’t think the hammer is ugly because it is heavier or that it is any prettier because it is taller than the screw driver. That would be silly. The hammer is just perfect in its design. The blacksmith who formed its curves and chose its colors did so intentionally, wanting it to be just as it is so that it could do exactly what it was designed to do.” Maybe, just maybe, this obsession we have with looking a certain way is silly too, not because God doesn’t care about how we look, but because He does. Maybe He cares so much that He wouldn’t want us to look any other way, that when He molded us into the masterpieces that we are, that He planned for us to look this way for all of eternity, not by accident, but by design! Maybe He thinks we are perfect just the way we are (once again my Christian companions, not morally, but physically speaking).
I believe you are set apart to the God who formed you, the very one who breathed life into your being. He counted the hairs on your head and knew from the beginning of time how many there would be. He charted the length of your eyelashes and the width of your hips. He who created color took the brush to your body and painted the very tone of your skin. He sculpted the shape of your fingernails and the volume of your hair. He who makes no mistakes, made you and left nothing to chance. When he created your heart, He kept in mind that very place where He would someday dwell. Your beauty points to Him who whispers into your Spirit, you were beautifully and wonderfully made.
Now that sounds like a God who cares what we look like. What do you think?