1 Samuel 16:7 (The Message)
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed by his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (emphasis mine)
How many of us wander around our whole lives and search for love? For a sense of belonging? All her treasured life I have tried to pour into my sweet daughter, Lainey, that she is loved.
“Others may be as loved, but no one is more loved than you are,” I would say.
You see, I have a lot of experience about how important it is to know that you are loved. I spent years aching and searching for that love. And quite frankly, I incurred a lot of damage in my quest to find it.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz discovered she had what she needed all along, I also found I’d had what I needed all along. It just didn’t come from where I’d been looking.
I had tried to fill my emptiness by being accepted by other people. When that didn’t work, I developed an eating disorder. If I was thin enough, then would I be okay? That, too, proved untrue. No, the truth was, I’d had that love and acceptance all along from my Savior, Jesus, who never left me while I looked far and wide for what had been right in front of me.
I so wanted to spare my daughter of that search. I was under the impression that I could give her the gift of my own revelation and keep her from having to make her own long journey on that road.
But you can’t simply be told you are loved.
“Why didn’t you tell her sooner?” the loyal scarecrow asks the Good Witch of the West.
“She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it herself,” she responds.
Jesus made Himself known to my daughter, Lainey, when she was only 7 years old. It was at vacation Bible school when she accepted Him as her Savior. I thought this meant she would not have to take this trip into the empty, as I had. That Jesus would spare her and that she would just be one of those people who get it.
What I have learned is that we, each of us, have to experience the love by walking the road-maybe the yellow brick road. It can’t be circumvented by well-meaning parents or loved ones who want to cut that search short in order to spare the sojourner the trouble. Because it’s in the walking that we do our learning.
Whether you know it or not, you are taking your own yellow brick road trip. It’s the only way to learn about and get to know the One who is always with us. The only way to see that what you’ve longed for most, Love, has been right there all along.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” a small, meek man bellows in another famous Wizard of Oz moment.
You see the man behind the curtain was powerless and thus, the reason for his hiding behind the electronics that camouflaged him. The image he projected was large, yes, but had no real power.
The same is true today. There are those projecting images, hiding behind a group text or social media. But they have no power. They think their power and value comes through the screen and the mouths of the many who echo them. They, too, are searching to fill that emptiness inside and they think this filling can come by way of taking. But it doesn’t. And the less that empowerment holds, the more people thrash about trying to get it back. They attempt to steal it from those around them and those who see their posts. But that’s not where power comes from.
Power comes from knowing you are loved, unconditionally, by Jesus, the only one who can love each of us perfectly. And the knowing comes from the journeying. From looking under all that does not hold. And coming back to who has always been with you, the bright red power of the love of Christ.
The Power is in the Presence of the living Savior whose Spirit lives in each of us who have accepted Christ as Savior and invited Him into our lives. It’s not a cliché. It’s not a nice story that I’m telling. It’s Truth.
Your power doesn’t’ come from being accepted by the people around you. It doesn’t come from being invited to hang out or go to the football game. Nor is it diminished by girls who step on you to raise themselves up.
Pay no attention to those folks hiding behind the curtain of their phones and computers and Twitter. For they have no power, only an empty attempt to elevate themselves with the image they project. But there is no fulfillment that comes from this temporary “power”.
You’ve had what you needed all along. You just didn’t know it.
Cast off the old, the past. Put down the heaviness you carry that makes you and your journey hard. What you need is right in front of you. Take the leap, invite Jesus into your life.
And what does 1 Samuel 16:7 have to do with any of this talk about love and power and belonging?
Prior to being the king, David wasn’t a particularly popular young man. His brothers ridiculed him. His father isolated him in a pasture and didn’t think enough of him to even include him in the family meeting with Samuel, who had come to find and anoint the next king. Even King Saul had it out for him, and tried to kill him numerous times. And there are so many more just like him in the Bible who were not accepted in their time.
We’ve all got our eyes on this hope of being popular and well-liked. Of being perfectly beautiful and widely accepted. We work on our outside to convince our insides that we are okay. But we’ve got it backward and upside down. If we look at ourselves or our circumstances to find our validation, we’ll get it wrong every time.
God doesn’t look at the outside, He looks at what’s in the heart.
The world’s way is to be preoccupied with what’s going on around us and with getting our outside all prettied up. But if you’re so busy looking at the outside, you’ll never attend to the stillness calling you into the deep love and acceptance Christ died to give you.
Why doesn’t He just tell us?
We wouldn’t believe Him.
So, walk the road with Him to get it deep into the soil of your heart. To hear the One who says, “If you have me, you have all you need.”
Asking Christ to be your Savior is the first step. Walking out your path, one yellow brick at a time, is the next step. And the next. Just keep taking those next steps. With Him. You may not have shiny ruby slippers. But you have been given a crown.