Image is everything! We live in an image-driven society. Political campaigning is all about “image,” and not about substance. Appearance and impression are what is striven for in the corporate as well as the entertainment world. An entire culture is given over to externals and the preservation of youth, or at least a youthful appearance, at all costs. Cosmetic surgery has become one of the most lucrative forms of medical practice in North America.
The quest for having the best possible appearance is even taken public and the results celebrated in televised exhibitions of extreme “makeovers.” Unabashed and unashamed, the “new” person flaunts the results of a new “image” for all to see, as though the outward change has really created a new person.
The spirit of the age, like a deadly virus, infects our hearts and thinking as well. Youth, beauty, a glamorous appearance (at least for those who once had it), are all pursued and longed after, and their demise is met with funereal sobriety.
But God has been in the business of extreme makeovers long before it became a fashionable pursuit for men and women. His makeover, however, is not external, superficial, or temporary. The one thing it does share in common with the physical makeover is that it is costly. In the hands of this all-wise Physician, the knife cuts deeply. The knife leaves scars – not the kind that are visible to others, but the kind that are well known and felt by the patient. Deftly, tenderly, and flawlessly, He works away at His patient. His work is all unseen to the natural eye; He is working on the heart, the mind, the will. He is not merely making adjustments, but creating a new creature.
Like the Potter of Jeremiah 18, His hands are always active. There is no down-time with this skilled Worker. He has a pattern, or more accurately a Person, before Him Whom He is working to reproduce in each of us. In some patients, the surgery is more radical than in others; the flaws are deeper and the resistance greater. But He continues to work. He will accept no compromise with the excellence He is laboring to produce.
Like the Potter of Jeremiah, He is working and making “as it seemed good.” This is no whimsical experiment to see how things turn out. Every painful incision, every layer exposed, every portion removed is all for our good. Everything is calculated to result in the extreme makeover which is His ultimate and unfailing goal.
The Master Physician will accomplish His purpose. It will not be totally finished until we are presented with Him before the Father with exceeding joy (1 Thess 3:13). But the greatest wonder will be to discover that this makeover will need no “touch-ups” or renewal. No further surgery will ever need to be done. We shall be eternally made like unto Him – in the dew of our youth, and in the beauty of holiness!