I sliced the orange open and bit into the sweet, juicy fruit.
As I pulled the slices apart, pulling the rind back, I noticed that the orange had marks and scars on the outside. This orange wasn’t like most of the oranges in the supermarket that look perfect, but are grown more for appearance and shelf-life than for flavor.
Sometimes we are like my orange. We all have our own marks and scars … sometimes visible, sometimes not. How often do we try to show a perfect outward appearance, trying to look “perfect”?
The perfect weight, the perfect hairstyle, the perfect smile, the perfect … whatever.
The Old Testament prophet Samuel was shocked when God said that he was calling the youngest son of Jesse, the shepherd boy David, to be the next king of Israel. But God reminded Samuel: “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” It’s not what we look like on the outside that really matters. It’s what is happening on the inside of us that really matters to God.
Are we growing in faith? Are we thinking kind and caring thoughts? Are we caring about others? What’s on the inside?
And about those marks and scars… those can be the evidence of persevering and overcoming life’s challenges. They can be reminders of God’s faithfulness in bringing us through difficult or painful times. And those experiences can help us to be more empathetic and supportive toward others.
Those grocery store oranges may look more beautiful on the outside, but my orange was perfect on the inside!