REVELATIONS: From ugly to beautiful
Have you ever noticed how some of God's most beautiful creations begin with something unbeautiful? Hairy, beady-eyed caterpillars become colorful butterflies. Crusty, smelly oysters form handsome pearls. Misshapen, dusty rocks over time, can transform into sparkling crystallized geodes.
There are many examples like this we experience every day and take for granted.
And the impressive (and at times, exasperating) thing about God's ugly-to-beautiful model is how slow the process can take. After all, ugly can't transform into something beautiful without developing in a time-appropriate fashion.
While visiting the Gem and Mineral Show at the Victoria Community Center last weekend, I realized just how long some transformations can take.
Vendors traveled to Victoria from all over the state to sell jewelry and other knickknacks made from natural minerals, rocks and gems. Many of the items for sale took thousands, even millions of years to transfigure - and that's before the artists, jewelers and sculptors went through a secondary process of molding the stones into beautiful works of art.
As I milled through the show, I noticed how some of the most unattractive exteriors in their original form, shimmered a proud sheen when the artist took the time to grind down, shape and polish the ugly away.
It seemed God's ugly-to-beautiful model was evidenced all throughout the venue.
So I couldn't help but wonder why it takes God so darn long to transform the ordinary and ugly into something sparkling and beautiful.
I guess it's a question I've reflected on a lot in recent weeks because I've been wrestling with some personal, emotional trials. There's been a lot of unexpected ugliness show up without warning or my consent, which always puts my mind on overdrive while I search for God's reason and purpose.
But the best part about running head-on into a pile of emotional ugly, is it forces me to reflect on God's authorship of everything beautiful. And how much he wants me to feel contentment and peace, even in seasons of transformation.
I suppose the Gem and Mineral Show reminded me that sometimes God has to grind down and polish the ugly - whether its in us, another person or something affecting our environment - to reveal the beauty, the purpose, the plan.
The hardest part for me, however, is waiting for the beauty to emerge from the ugly, because God knows I'm not a patient lady.
It would be nice if I could pray for healing and understanding, and God immediately responded to my pleas. I suppose sometimes that does happen, and I'm especially thankful when it does. But most of the time, he's slow to heal and unhurried to form understanding. Why? Because nothing valuable is learned (at least for me) when needs are met with immediacy.
Without enduring the process of the ugly-to-beautiful transformation, the end result wouldn't sparkle as brightly. I know I must endure God's process, however long it takes to grind away the ugly and reveal the beautiful gem inside.
Jennifer Preyss is a re porter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.