Greg and I have a neighbor that sometimes gives us fits. Years ago when we first moved in I planted a Yew tree in the corner of our backyard next to this neighbor. This Yew has grown maybe up to 10 ft. (I don’t know I am not a good one to estimate feet). It’s very tall and stately. I love my tree. My neighbor is known for letting his yard grow in abundance before he mows. Pulling weeds is not his calling. Anyhow, behind my beautiful tree is a weed that is in his yard. It’s almost as tall as my tree. If you look at the tree you see the weed.
Now a few weeks ago I was weeding my yard. I took my cutting tools and I politely cut as much of that weed as I could. I am short so I didn’t get much of the weed. It still dangled before my eyes. I couldn’t see my tree for that weed. It’s amazing how God shows us things.
This morning as I was doing my devotions on my porch I looked up at my beautiful stately tree. Of course, the weed got my attention. But, this morning I saw something different. Even though it was a weed God had allowed little pretty, delicate flowers to grow on this weed. Wow! These flowers were so small compared to the big ugly weed, but there they were. Right in the midst of this ugliness was a delicate flower. Now as I look at the weed I don’t see it so much. I focus on the flower. God took what I thought was ugly and added some beauty to it so I would focus on the beauty and not the ugliness.
How many times have I done that to people? How many times have I looked at someone and all I could see was the ugliness in their lives? How many times have I focused on the really bad stuff and missed the really good stuff in their lives? How many times have I lost some really good friends because all I could see was the ugliness?
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
God says it pretty plainly here doesn’t he? Do not consider his appearance but look at the heart. How many times have I not been able to see a person’s heart because I am too busy looking at his outward appearance and already judging him and rejecting him?
The big beautiful Yew reminds me that I often look at those who are beautiful on the outside and they block my focus on what is really important. Because the world has a tendency to tell us beauty and age is what it’s all about we forget to focus on what is really important.
If I look hard enough I can still see the ugliness of the weed, but what I focus on is not the ugliness but the beauty found in the flower. What I am learning from this is there are some people who may not have it all together on the outside, but God has put a little beauty in everyone’s life and that is what we focus on. We can choose to see the ugliness or we can choose to find and focus on the beauty of each person’s life we come in contact with.
I had asked my husband to help me cut if off completely, but he was busy doing something else and wouldn’t do it. Now I am thankful that it wasn’t cut off. I am glad I am short and couldn’t chop it down myself. I am glad God took this weed, put a flower among it and taught me a lesson. I will begin the practice of seeing others as God sees them. I will be like the Lord and look at their heart and find the beauty God has placed in them.
Dear God: Thank you for making me short. I am so glad I was not able to cut this weed out of my life. Thank you for allowing those pretty little delicate flowers to bloom so that I may see the beauty in this weed. When I begin to look at the outward appearance of someone nudge me and remind me it’s all about finding the beauty in that life you have created. Help me to look past those things I think are beautiful and see those things that often get overlooked or those people who often get overlooked. I am so thankful that you can take things or people that we think are ugly and you can bring out the best in them. It’s up to us to find those things and to focus on those things. Thank you for lessons, for your love and your mercy and grace. Amen.