But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
In the eyes of most mothers, their newborns are beautiful.
That was not the case for Robert Hoge. When he was born, he was ugly. Now before you get upset and write to me telling me that all babies are beautiful, I want you to know the word "ugly" is taken from Hoge's own description and autobiography of himself. Having seen his picture, I can assure you he is not being overly judgmental on his appearance.
Hoge was ugly.
He was born with a large tumor in the middle of his forehead, which pushed his eyes to the side. His legs were mangled and, well, he was just unattractive.
Having heard her husband describe Robert's physical appearance, his mother, who had given birth to four other "normal" children, refused to see him. When it was time to take her baby home from the hospital, she decided to leave him there.
In her diary she wrote, "I wish he would go away or die or something."
But Hoge didn't go away or die. And the "something" which happened to him was this: his mother started to visit him in the hospital. When the two bonded, she asked Robert's siblings what they wanted to do with their baby brother. They all voted that Robert should be brought home, which is exactly what happened.
Hoge underwent numerous surgeries to remove that tumor and reconstruct his face.
Those are the changes that happened to Hoge's body, and they transformed his externals dramatically. And his internals -- his heart, mind and spirit -- what about those? Well, you should know those were just fine, and they never were ugly. In his autobiography, Hoge explains how he understands his mother's reaction and now teaches others how to deal with rejection and adversity.
He says his life is one "that has some sad parts in the middle but has a happy ending."
I pray the same may be said about our lives. You see, we have much in common with Hoge.
I say that because you and I were also born ugly. To the Lord, our soul's appearance had been disfigured by the ravages of sin. It would have been perfectly understandable for the perfect Lord to turn His back on His imperfect children.
But that the Lord did not do.
In spite of our sins, He desired to bring us to the haven of a heavenly home. To that end He sent His Son into the world. Here our Savior, the great Physician of sick souls, did all that was necessary to forgive and heal us. His life, death and resurrection were all done so we might be transformed into the beautiful beings God had always planned we would be.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Your beautiful love has overshadowed the ugliness of sinful souls. For sending Your Son to save us we give thanks. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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