Beauty Still Thrives in the Heat of Life

She walks into the coffee shop at night, barely thirty-five minutes before shut-down. You remember her name. It's Mona. Yes, like the girl Leonardo Da Vinci painted, although she looks nothing like her. She's more beautiful, of course. Incomparable to the painting. Unrivaled. High cheek bones. Slender fingers. You feel you're a lucky guy to see her walk through the door. You only know her name because a few weeks back you couldn't help but ask when she came in for her regular Caffe Macchiato.

You stop wiping spilled coffee off the counter at the back. "Hey, I'll get this one," you say to the employee in front. He scurries along leaving you to serve the girl. You're not confused about whether or not she's smiling because it's obvious. Her smile causes her cheeks to rise higher, revealing the widest cutest dimples you've ever seen. "My future daughter will have dimples like yours, Mona," you mutter under your breath, half-hoping she heard you and half-hoping she didn't.

As soon as you get some free time, you walk to where she's sitting. "Do you mind?" you ask, pointing to the chair beside her. She shakes her head, and soon time flies as both of you talk about the abrupt change in weather from bad to worse and how politics will be tougher this year. Then she talks about the hurdles she had to overcome this winter.

There are three words she keeps repeating. "It's just God," she says, showing off her pearly whites. "He's my rock. I am a living testimony of His grace."

How such an ethereal and glorious creature like Mona could easily say "It's just God" baffles you. She looks like everything's perfect (a beauty to behold) and yet she's telling you of obstacles God has helped her through. Here she is, still standing in the most difficult of times. If she wouldn't have talked, who would have known?

She whispers again, "I can't afford this everyday, but I will someday. If God has brought me through what I told you earlier, He can bring me through this." And then, with grace, she throws her head back and giggles.

Beauty thriving through the heat of life. Imperfection intertwined in perfection. Weakness dipped in His perfect strength. It must be God in her.

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From my experience, I know that beauty still thrives in the heat of life. How? When you're so soaked in the Word of God that every other experience (good and bad) lines up behind the Word. It becomes the very thing you live for-- the love that multiplies into every facet of your life, the bread to satisfy your hunger, the light to shine in your darkness, and the fortress to protect your city. God's word is the only way I know through which beauty shines through even in the heat of this life and through the droughts of wilderness experiences.

Check out this scripture in Jeremiah 17: 7-8 and tell me if you're thinking what I'm thinking.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit."

No one told you that heat will not come, or that there won't be years of drought. But the promise is that when those things come, your hope will be in the Lord, and your leaves...they will ALWAYS be green, no matter what.