Christian Living Stories: The Beauty Within

It was a warm summer’s day, so my daughter, two grandsons and I decided to visit the rummage sale at the Bonanza Catholic Church. At the door my youngest grandson halted and backed up, afraid to go in, even though many of the people rummaging there were familiar faces. My grandson has autism, and occasionally closed-in and unfamiliar places frighten him.

After a quick change in plan we headed over to a hobby fair at a nearby park. In the open-air setting, my grandson was spared the sensory overload he had experienced at the rummage sale. As we entered the fair we scattered like marbles toward the booths and displays that filled our various interests. Each one of us was carried on by the momentum of excitement.

I bounced from a booth offering beautiful quilts to a booth selling uniquely designed bird houses. As the momentum carried me on to a display for a local garden club, I thought of resting there and joining them. Then I saw it — a booth featuring another of the loves of my life — rock-collecting. I decided to stop there.

“The rock I held in my hand was rough and plain on the outside, but it held a treasure of God’s beauty within.”

I always say that when the Lord calls me home he will have to check my pockets because I might be trying to sneak in my rocks. You may think me crazy, but I find great comfort in just holding rocks in my hand. To me they are things of beauty made by God’s personal touch.

A local rock shop had a fair booth where you could pick out a rock and they would cut it for you. There were buckets of thunder eggs, each bucket marked with a different price. A small voice seemed to say, “Pick one,” so I willingly obeyed. Reaching for a rock is a natural movement of my hand.

Thunder eggs are ball-shaped masses of rock that can range in size from one inch to several feet. Their outer shell is drab and bumpy but it is the core that holds the prize. The rock I chose was chocolate brown on the outside and nothing to be desired, but when it was cut in half, it revealed a beautiful crystalline center.

As I held the cut rock in my hand I once again heard that small voice. It reminded me of 1 John 3:2, which reads, “Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

We, just like a thunder egg, might appear from the outside to be rather plain, but much is going on inside. God is fashioning a thing of beauty within us. The apostle Paul wrote, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The rock I held in my hand was rough and plain on the outside, but like many people, it held a treasure of God’s beauty within. The rock’s interior was unique; a work of art. We also are works of art in God’s hands. We might be rough and plain on the outside, but we are God’s unique and beautiful handiwork on the inside.

I am grateful for the lesson I learned from God through the wonderful gift of rocks; that I need to look for the beauty in every person around me. I try to remember the special place each person holds in God’s heart and the special place they hold in God’s plans. As I look at the amazing beauty that God created within this drab rock, I am reminded of the wonderful work God is doing in each one of his children and I am excited about the transformation of the beauty within.

Anne Gillam is pastor of the Grace Communion International congregation in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Author: Anne Gillam


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