The Lord Looks at the Heart

Welcome! I hope you honored your mom on Mother’s Day if she’s still living. If she isn’t, I hope happy memories came to mind on Mother’s Day.

God blessed me with a loving, encouraging mother, so it’s always a special day for me. Happy memories with my mom include baking, swimming, reading, traveling to Gettysburg, and Christmas time.

My mom taught me about Jesus from toddlerhood, so I’ve never lived without knowing about Him. She also prayed with me to receive Christ when I was four years old; I owe her my deepest gratitude for this.

Mom reading me bedtime stories are some of my favorite memories. She introduced me to “Charlotte’s Web,” classic Golden Books, and my all-time favorite secular story, “Beauty and the Beast.”

She read the story from a book that once belonged to my late Grandma Louden. It was a blue hardback with glossy pages and detailed illustrations. Beauty’s gentle, selfless spirit and the Beast’s kindness made a big impression on me. Beauty’s ability to love the Beast despite his hideous face helped me understand how important it is not to judge a person’s character by his or her physical appearance. I’ve carried that lesson throughout my life.

The most powerful part of the story is when the Beast almost died in his garden after Beauty returned to her father. She was supposed to live with the Beast forever because her father stole a rose from the Beast’s garden to give to Beauty. But the Beast loved Beauty enough to let her go home for one week. He sent her home with a magic mirror so she could see him and a magic ring so she could return to him. After eight days, she looked into the magic mirror the Beast gave her and saw him dying in his garden. She used the magic ring he gave her to return to him. You know the rest of the story: she professed her love and he turned into a handsome prince.

But, honestly, I loved the Beast more than the prince. I fell in love with his gentle heart, even as a seven or eight-year-old girl.

This story reminds me of 1 Samuel 16, when God sent Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel. This was the result King Saul’s disobedience. God sends him to Jesse, the Bethlehemite, who had eight sons. When Eliab, Jesse’s handsome, strapping son stepped forward, he impressed Samuel. He was sure Eliab was God’s chosen king. Not so. 1 Samuel 16:7 reads, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (NIV)

God didn’t choose Jesse’s tallest, handsomest son. He chose David, his youngest son. He was a shepherd, poet, musician, and future warrior. He was called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22 NIV). We know that David was good-looking, but that wasn’t what impressed God. He saw David’s good, obedient heart.

I will be forever grateful to Mom for teaching me through “Beauty and the Beast” that what matters most is one’s heart, not one’s looks.

Tuesday, May 16, is Election Day. Please remember to vote. Service members have given their lives to protect our freedom to vote. Polling sites are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Saturday, May 20, is Armed Forces Day. Please thank a veteran.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!