“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
It was the summer of 1986 when we were robbed. Our house was broken into, and everything of value was taken about six weeks before I spoke at the International Congress for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I was stripped of furniture, cameras, silver, the things my grandmother had left me and all of my jewelry. When the time came for me to stand in the lectern to address the 10,000 evangelists from all over the globe who were seated in front of me, I was acutely aware that what I had to offer them had nothing to do with items that had been taken from me. If there was to be any blessing, any encouragement, any word from the Lord to this gathering of men and women, it would come from the hours I had spent in prayer and in studying His Word. I knew that my real treasure was on the inside.
This truth is underscored by the description of the tabernacle in the Old Testament. The outside was covered in badger skins (Ex. 36:19, NKJV) which would give it a very ordinary appearance. No one would ever guess such a rough-looking exterior could contain glory on the inside. But it did! Wood overlaid with gold, embroidered silks, golden vessels and the magnificent ark of the covenant filled the tabernacle with a dazzling, awe-inspiring beauty.
The apostle Paul reiterated this principle when he told the Corinthian believers that their lives were like jars of clay into which God poured the glory of His life and character (2 Cor. 4:7). In other words, on the outside we may look ordinary, but on the inside God sees a reflection of Himself.
I have been reminded of this in a very fresh, personal way as a result of hair loss due to chemotherapy. When my hair began to fall out in large amounts, I went to my beloved Christian brother and hairstylist extraordinaire, Doug David, owner of The Douglas Carroll Salon. Looking on were his wife, my daughters and two of my granddaughters, who helped to turn a dreaded event into something that was actually fun. Under their watchful eyes and with their affirming comments, he shaved my head. For those of you who have been through this, you know that it is also a humiliating trauma. I was almost shocked to hear the familiar sound of my own voice coming from the face under the shorn head I saw reflected in the salon mirror! My immediate reaction was to quote God’s words: that God looks on the heart, not the outward appearance. I am so thankful!
But of course, because we do look on the outward appearance, Doug cut and styled a wig that a new friend, Melinda Alba of New Beginnings in Sugarland, Texas, had found for me. She had searched and searched for a wig that was the right length and color to match my own. See what you think.
(photo credit, AnGeL Ministries)
What about you? If your outward appearance has been scarred, altered, deformed—or if your outward appearance is flawlessly spectacular—remember. God looks on the heart. The real treasure is on the inside.