I love the lady who does my nails, her name is Mary. I go through little spurts of keeping them painted, it's one of those niceties a girl needs sometimes. Even if my hair is a mess and there's no make up on my face at least my nails look nice. And before I go further, my apologies to any men who actually read this blog for being a little girly but stick with me, I promise you can glean something.
So I sit across from Mary to have my nails done, my hands stretched out in full surrender as she buffs and polishes and Mary looks deep into eyes. She scans my face and I look back at her smiling but a little uncomfortable. Maybe there's something in my nose or I have bad breath. She looks me over once more and says, "You want your lip waxed today?"
Well thanks, Mary. So I sheepishly reply, "No, thanks, I don't need it." Now I'm red and want to crawl out of the chair and hope that none of the ladies at the other chairs hear this exchange. (Men, if you're still reading, you do not speak of this to me or the women in your life...ever.)
"Yes, you do. It will only take a minute", she insists and as soon as my nails dry she asks me to follow her to the back room. There, I lie on the table as she applies hot wax to my lip and eyebrows and wherever else she finds unsightly hairs. I'm so embarrassed but secretly thankful Mary was helping me. She's the tiniest little lady but I can see that she doesn't often take no for an answer.
She finishes and says I look much better now and sends me off. I don't even know what I tipped her because I didn't want anyone to see my glowing red face as I left the salon.
What's all this got to do with Jesus? Well as I amused myself thinking about this story, I was reminded that God's word is often compared to a mirror. Often times, we find the Bible to be offensive, not because what God says is so terrible but because in it we see ourselves and our shortcomings. When we read things like, "love your enemy", "be anxious for nothing", "submit to one another" and "slow to speak and slow to anger" we often blush or even recoil. Just like I wish Mary would accept my pre-menopausal upper lip, I wish God would just let me remain. I want to stay obstinate, worrisome, and I want to have my right to complain and hate. But God says, "No, you've got a little something we need to take care of and I'm going to take care of it."
Thankfully, God is gentle and merciful in His restoration. God provided His only son as a perfect example of how to live and knows fully that we can't ever meet that. In His love, Christ died for us while we were still sinners, so that we can have eternal life with the Father if we receive that gift. (Romans 5:8) God has given us His word so that we may know the love and learn to live like His son out of thanksgiving for salvation. Yes, He calls His word a sword, but it's not meant to shred and shame you, only to polish and refine you.
I sometimes let myself go. I let the nail polish chip and I avoid Mary because I know she won't let me get away until I'm as beautiful as she'd like me to be. But when I sit with her, she asks about my children and my husband. She tells me she loves the color I chose and how nice it will go with my clothes. She likes to see me at my best. The Lord is just like that...not condemning but caring and wanting to see His child at her best. So instead of avoiding Him and His word, it's worth a sit-down with hands extended in full surrender to allow Him to polish and refine us.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.