Beauty is a concept most of us struggle with—we struggle so hard to find the meaning of the word beauty in our lives because huge chunks of our lives have been ugly, marred by trauma, with pain, and anger. We see beauty as something to be measured and weighed. We see beauty as something for comparison with what we don’t have and others have. What we have experienced and they have not experienced.

I don’t see beauty that way. I see beauty as the grace point between what hurts and what heals, between the shadow of tragedy and the light of joy.

We all have scars, inside and out. We have freckles from sun exposure, emotional trigger points, broken bones, and broken hearts.

However our scars manifest, we need not feel ashamed but beautiful. It is beautiful to have lived, really lived, and to have the marks to prove it. It’s not a competition—as in “My scar is better than your scar”—but it’s a testament of our inner strength. We may hurt, but we will heal—and there’s beauty in our scars. Being a part of this world is beautiful, smile-worthy, despite the tears.

It is during our times of struggle that we find out what we really believe about God. A tragedy in our lives often leads us to a crisis of belief. It’s very easy to believe in God when life is good. But when life is not good, then that’s when we really decide if we believe God who redeems and restores or not.

I love reading the book of Ruth.  This book reminds me that though we have our scars there is beauty in them. The Book of Ruth is one of only two books of the Bible to be named after women (the other is Esther – all have their own beautiful scars). Even though it’s small, this remarkable book contains many principles with profound impact to our lives today.

Ruth was written to help us see the signposts of the grace of God in our lives, and to help us trust his grace even when the clouds are so thick that we can't see the road let alone the signs on the side. Let's go back and remind ourselves that it was God who acted to turn each setback into a stepping stone to joy, and that it is God in all of our bitter providences who is plotting for our good.

We get to know Ruth because of Naomi.  A woman by the name of Naomi packed up and moved from Judah to Moab due to a terrible famine that was affecting her family. She and her husband moved there with their two sons, who eventually took wives while living in Moab.

Tragically, Naomi lost her husband and two sons. Broken and empty, Naomi decided to move back to Bethlehem in Judah. Her daughter-in-law Ruth came with her, since she had also lost her husband. Keep in mind that Ruth was a Moabite woman, and she was now moving to Judah as a foreigner. This was a big deal in their culture, but she was committed to Naomi as her daughter-in-law, and she wanted to follow after the God of Israel.

While in Judah, God worked out an amazing plan for a man named Boaz to take Ruth as his wife, give her a child, and provide for her and Naomi. What’s remarkable about this plan was that Boaz was qualified as a “kinsman redeemer” to take her as his wife. Kindly note that nowhere we are told that Boaz was ugly, poor, and unworthy man.  Definitely nowhere! Boaz was a rich respectful, handsome man who had never married (the emphasize here is mine) and despite Ruth being a widow for ten years God in His own way enabled Ruth to get this man of substance –Ruth was still beautiful despite her ugly scars!   So, even in the midst of Ruth and Naomi’s awful affliction, God still had a plan to take care of them.

Ruth 4: 13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without next of kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him." 16Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. 17And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi." They named him Obed; he was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

What an amazing plan God had for a series of “little” things that all added up to important pieces in God’s big plan. God intended for Ruth to be a part of the story of the lineage of Jesus. So, He pulled together events such as the famine, Naomi’s relocation to Moab, their return to Bethlehem, Boaz’ bloodline, and many other events just to ensure that Ruth could be a part of His plan. And God does that same thing in our lives today!

Comforting thought for the month

Scars show the healing power of the Lord.  Your Scars are Proof that God Heals. Once the Lord has helped you work through your pain, your life will be a compelling testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we remember a wound—and the difficulties surrounding it—we also remember the comfort of Christ. He always meets us in our darkest hour. The truth is, God sometimes allows us to experience difficult situations—even scarring experiences—to sanctify us and draw us closer to him. So when you go through something difficult, run to Christ.  He is always there for us in our time of need, and He is bigger than any difficulty we can experience.