To escape the horrifying headline news on the deadliest calamity that ever hit Mindanao wrought by Typhoon Pablo (over 500 deaths to date), I turned the day's newspaper to the inside pages and got mesmerized by the Lifestyle section.
Splashed on several pages were tall, beautiful ladies and dashing young men garbed in the latest fashion. I drooled over how they carried their clothes, bags, shoes and accessories with flair.
My thought balloons:
Ooooh, I wish I were one inch taller . . .
Ooooh, I wish I were as well-dressed . . .
Ooooh, I wish I had those accessories . . .
Then it was time for a quick change if we were to make it on time for the Sunday worship service. I grabbed the Bible closest to my path and it was only inside the church when I realized I had The Message (one of the translations I run to when I don't understand some passages in my favorite KJV).
What charms me about The Message is it speaks today's language in simple words that even a fifth grader can understand.
While the music team was softly playing a prelude hymn, I opened my Bible to meditate on some verses. I almost fell off the pew when I read:
“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them." Matthew 6:27-29
When I got home, I made sure I got it right, so I re-read the verses in my KJV:
"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
The KJV made The Message even clearer.
I can't add one inch to my height, and neither can the best fashion models nor the richest man who ever lived—the king who could command the best artisans make the most exquisite finery and accessories—can compare with the beauty of wildflowers.
Later, I was brave enough to read the headlines and joined those who are engrossed in something more important than wishful thinking—praying for the search and rescue team to find more bodies, for the victims' next meal, and for a more comfortable place for them to stay after the typhoon had flattened all the wildflowers and stole everything they ever had.
Addendum: In the afternoon that day, my brother Earl and his wife, Tess, who live in Australia, came visiting for a few hours. The visit was too brief to catch up on everything about the in-between years. I handed him my The Message as a coming-home-and-going-away present. I wanted him and Tess to read about grace at its clearest as I did.