Unafraid and Unashamed (Psalm 34:4-5)
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.—Psalm 34:4-5
With a disability that makes my face look different, I’m noticed wherever I go. Even after many surgeries, my skull is misshapen, my eyes are wide set, and my nose is crooked.
I remember one summer day at the playground. As usual, kids were staring and laughing at me. A group of children noticed me and started chanting “Stupid face, stupid face.” One boy even followed me around asking, “Are you a boy or a girl? What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your face?”
The words stung. The words hurt. But deep inside, I had the same questions. Why did I look this way? I knew God created me. He created the whole world, but knowing that just made matters worse. I was ashamed of how I looked. If God was so good, why did He make me this way? Why didn’t He hear my prayers? If God was so powerful that He could heal blind Bartimaeus, why didn’t He heal me?
From the time I was a baby, my parents taught me Bible verses. One of the passages we memorized was Psalm 34. David wrote, “I sought the Lord and he answered me.” If He answered David, why didn’t He answer me? Why didn’t He heal my face?
I kept asking questions. My parents and pastor told me to never ever stop looking to the Bible. No matter what happened. No matter how I felt. Although the answers didn’t come right away, that was the encouragement I needed to persevere. With God’s help I kept repeating His words and listening to what He said.
Then one day someone told me I was beautiful. I knew they didn’t mean my physical face was beautiful. They were seeing Jesus. God was answering my prayer for healing. He was giving me something much more than a pretty face would give me. He was transforming my heart and filling me with a joy that radiated on my face.
I was seeing Psalm 34 with new eyes of faith. It says “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” It doesn’t say the Lord delivered me from all my problems. It says He delivered me from the fear of my problems.
“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” The ESV Study Bible says “ashamed” in this context means being disappointed at not finding what was hoped for. When I was hoping for a pretty face, I was disappointed. But as I learn to hope for more and more of Jesus, He answers me and my shame disappears.
My face will always be different. People will always stare and wonder about me but I know Whom to trust. Just like David, I cry out to God day after day. I don’t always understand His ways and sometimes still ask “why”? God hears me and delivers me from my fears making me more like Him. He comes to me and comforts me and tells me I am His own.
I belong to Jesus. Because I belong to Him I am in His presence, reflecting His beauty and glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). When people look at my face, I want them to see radiance, the joy of Jesus. This radiance is for all who seek Him, for all who hope in Christ, even a girl with a different face.
Do you expect God to take away your problems and hurts when you pray?
Can you see ways that God has used your hurts to reveal more of Himself?
What difference has that made in your life?