“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that
could be theirs.”—Jonah 2:8 (NIV)
Have you seen that quote
attributed to Robert Mugabe? Lately, it has touched all corners of social
media. It goes [something] like this: “Don’t tell me that beauty lies inside;
no one walks around with x-rays.” That there, says a lot about how we define of
This world defines beauty as
something you see. To conceptualise
beauty, you have to lend your brain to the eyes, or the eyes take over the job
description of the brain. But today I want to suggest that beauty is not what
we see; it is what we seek. Let me also state that beauty is something, not
just visible, but also tangible.
Beauty is a means to life—it is everything. We seek beauty
because, we think, in it we will find life: value, worth, meaning, purpose,
satisfaction, approval, love, affection and comfort. We seek those things in
beauty. That is not all, we even go ahead and craft our own beauty—in other
words, we define the beauty we want—and then go ahead and create it. You have
heard a motivational speaker say that “your life is what you make it”, and then
goes ahead to instruct you to “go for it.”
Everyone is guilty of creating
beauty in little laughable things, in money, sex, knowledge, theology, work,
talents, children, spouses, parents, property and many others. If you are
reading this, then you have, in one way, shape or form, sought salvation in any
of the things above. You have looked to them for justification. They have acted
as your ‘rock of edges to hide thee’—your
messiah, so to speak.
Some months back, I was
obsessed with the idea of going to Seminary (Theological School). I had
submitted the required paperwork but then on the last hurdle, the officer concerned
spotted a loophole in my paperwork. It was so serious that it would take time
and in the end, I would miss admission that year. I can’t tell you how I felt.
That is one of the times that I told God how he had “gotten out of line and ultimately
lost His grip on simple matters.”
I couldn’t believe that He was
playing around with my ‘Divine calling’—to teach his Holy Scriptures to His
people. As I walked the wide tarmac road, under the steaming heat of the sun,
all I wanted was the ground to swallow me. I had no purpose. My sight then
became blurred as tears filled my eyes. All the hopes of becoming something, or
even ‘someone of note’ had been dashed into the cliffs of uncertainty. I was
lost in the middle of no-where.
It was then that I realised how I had crafted beauty out of theology and how my thirst
for more ‘knowledge about God’ (not knowledge
of God) had been growing like an aggressive tumor inside my heart. My unsettling addiction
toward learning about God instead of seeing and embracing God had become the
altar where I worshipped without ceasing. I had
created my own beauty—I had sought comfort and salvation in something smaller
than Jesus—something laughable.
Would there be any hope for me?
I had messed up big time, and it was all happening under my very nose. Yes!
There was hope for the train-wreck that I am. Hear these words:
is my blood of the new covenant,
is shed for you and for many for the
forgiveness of sins.
this, as often as you drink it,
remembrance of me.
I remembered Christ on whom my
sins of idolatry were laid. The slain Lamb of God who took away my sins. Who
became sin for me that I would become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
That His perfect righteousness was mine, by just gazing at Him who is forever
righteous (Rom. 4:4-5). He is faithful to me even when I cannot be faithful to
him (2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 6:9). My name is Nuwamanya Mategyero and I am going to
bet everything on His righteousness alone to get me home.
The only way you and I can resist the urge to create these crappy
and creepy beauties is to see Jesus as Beautiful and in Him alone to find our
comfort and salvation. “For God alone my
soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my
salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2, ESV).
That is my prayer and I pray the same for you.