By Not Known
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
When I first drove through the south side of Chicago many years ago, I was struck by the ugliness of the place. Boarded-up shops, graffiti-filled walls, overgrown weeds, abandoned playgrounds, wheel-less cars propped up on bricks, etc., were the signs of a neighbourhood that had seen better days. The only signs of life were listless youths with humongous loudspeakers blaring music from their shoulders. As we drove past them, they stared at us like man-eating aliens.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to revisit that same neighbourhood when I visited Wheaton College and the Billy Graham Centre. What met my eyes was much the same except with greater devastation and degeneration. (However, this time around, I saw a different picture. Instead of ugliness, I saw beauty. There were more listless youths, and even young women with babies in their arms).
What changed? Nothing much, at least not on the visual level. What really changed took place in my heart and the way I saw this neighbourhood. Instead of the ugliness of abandonment and waste, I saw opportunities. Instead of listless youths, I saw potentials. What I once saw as ugly, I now saw as resourcefulness, art, endurance, hope, grit, ingenuity, strength and yes even beauty.
Hopeless street kids have needs. They cry and long for hope too. In them, I saw opportunities to reach out, to touch and to share. In them, I saw the potential of people who needed to hear the Gospel and respond to the call of the Spirit of God.
As I drove past them, I cried. I felt a deep sense of urgency. I knew deep inside me, I sensed the same urge of our Lord who said that the field is ripe for the harvest but where are the workers? Where are the beautiful feet of those who bring the Good News of the Gospel?
Do you also see the beauty of yearning hearts, crying souls, and thirsty lives? Or do we just see the ugliness around us and quickly turn our eyes away instead of being sensitive to the needs behind what we see?
Take another look at our own city, our neighbours, our colleagues and our relatives. Take a good look at the places we visit for our holidays, at the lives behind the faces. Give a thought for the refugees fleeing the Iraqi borders from the IS rebels or the Ebola victims in Africa. In the eyes of terrorists or suicide bombers; do we see ugliness or beauty? Do you see problems or possibilities?