Facials…one of the many beauty regimens women and dare I say some men, do to keep their skin, fresh, youthful and blemish free. Well last year right before our women’s retreat I decided to give myself a facial. Now for those of you who don’t know, I have three daughters so there is never a lack of female products in our home. So, I sent out a text to my girls asking them if they had any new facial treatments. My 20-year-old daughter Selina walks in my room with a large duffle bag; excited I jumped up to see what options I had. My eyes caught sight of a jar, which read, “Aztec Secret…Indian Healing Clay…the world’s most powerful facial” of course that’s the one I chose.
I quickly scanned through the instructions, in bright red letters I read, “Feel your face pulsate.” And I’m thinking, “Wow, I am going to look…amazing!” I continue reading, “While stirring do not use a metal bowl or spatula” hmm now that’s interesting. As I’m mixing the powdered clay it begins to sizzle. Ironically it is at this point that I begin slathering it on my face.
About 20 minutes later, my face literally starts to pulsate… which was sort of cool…but the sensation begins to move to my lips and it almost feels as if they are getting bigger. My face is so tight from the thick coat of clay I applied I can barely move it. Just then Selina comes back in the room and I ask her if it looks like my lips are swelling. She immediately begins to start laughing. I can only imagine how ridiculous I look so I join her.
The hard clay mask begins to pull at my skin; it feels like my face is on fire. I begin to scream from the pain; Selina begins to laugh louder which causes us both to go into a full on laughing fit. I couldn’t stop laughing, yet at the same time tears were swelling in my eyes because of the pain.
Finally Selina said, “Mom if it hurts so much just go take the mask off.” Light bulb moment! Her simple truth helped me focus; I composed myself and ran to the bathroom, grabbed a washcloth and turned the faucet on…finally relief. As I wait for the water to come rushing out a thought crosses my mind, our refrigerator went out today and while my husband was checking it he turned off our water line. I immediately start screaming again. My daughter runs in and we both to go into another fit of hysterics. All the while my 14-year-old daughter is grabbing her phone trying to record me on Snapchat.
Thankfully Selina had a large cup of water in her room and I was finally able to remove the Aztec Secret Facial Clay. The moral of my story is to never use anything on your face that says “Secret,” “Powerful” or “Pulsating.” In all seriousness this silly moment had a profound statement to deliver: the importance of being led by truth and not emotion. Because I was in a hurry, and felt the stress of a full schedule, I rushed through the instructions and didn’t take the simple, yet bold label on the jar seriously.
How many times throughout our day do our emotions threaten to take control? This is especially true when we are stressed, hungry, tired, over worked or struggling through a loss to which we see no hope or end. It is during these times our morals are tested and, left unchecked, emotions can result in an emptiness that is all consuming.
And no one likes to be empty: empty bank account, empty gas tank, empty relationship, empty life. And in a society that says anything goes as long as it makes you happy, where do you turn for truth?
The Bible declares that there is an all-knowing God, a Creator of all things. Because of its audacious claim to be the living Word of God it has been attacked and dissected more then any other piece of literature. Despite this attack the Bible remains the authoritive book for more then 2 billion professing Christians and is the best selling book of all time.
And throughout the Bible we read story after story of men and women whose spiritual walks were strengthened by their willingness to be led by truth. Despite the heights of their pleasure or depths of their sorrow; they trusted God and walked forward in obedience. And during the journey, they discovered that being empty could be a life changing, kingdom expanding, gift from God.
We see this in the story of Abraham. When called to leave family and country, he did not doubt or reason with God. He packed up his belongings and throughout his arduous journey set up alters in worship and in praise of His Sovereign Creator. When the sorrow he carried for his barren wife confronted the promise God gave him of a future filled with descendants as vast as the dust of the earth, Abraham clung to truth in the midst of pain. Year after year when the biological conception of a child seemed comical, it was the grace of an Eternal Father which brought forth the promised son.
And then came the sacrifice of Isaac, the examination of Abraham’s heart. I can only imagine the thoughts going through Abraham’s head on that three-day mountain trek. Abraham knew God would bless him through his son Isaac. He also knew God commanded him to present Isaac as a burnt offering. Yet this wasn’t a choice of which to believe, because God does not lie. It was a decision to put faith to foot and believe in the One who will provide regardless of the emotion and confusion felt in the command. And God did provide. Not only did God spare Isaac’s life that day but many years later upon a mountain, God the Father offered up His dearly loved Son on a wooden cross and “this time the axe did not fail to fall.”
Speaking of Abraham’s faith, Romans 4:18-21 says this: “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waiver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
Regardless of our current circumstances: whether we are standing amongst the clouds of a mountaintop, drowning from the pressure of the ocean floor, or filled with sorrow from the echo in the valley, let us remember the faith of our father Abraham and cling to the audacity of truth found only in the living Word of God.