In 1991 Disney released Beauty and the Beast and in 2017 Emma Watson will star as Belle in a live action retelling of the classic story. When Disney made the announcement that the new film was to be made people (including my wife) got very excited. If you remember the '91 original you'll remember that throughout the film (unless you were a young boy like me who wanted to become a bison-man-beast) the audience is left wondering time and again why Belle, the beauty, would love a wretched beast who had little to no beauty on the inside or outside.
Sunday during at church I was left wondering a similar thing.
We sang the song "Jesus Thank You" and we got to the bridge when it hit me. During the bridge we sing, "Lover of my soul. I want to live for you." I had to sit down because I was so struck by what I had just sang. Lover of MY soul? Lover of MY soul? I want to live for you.
As I ponder/think about/gaze on the beauty of God I'm left with a great question. When I consider His eternally perfect qualities and compare them to my own I can't help but ask perhaps one of the greatest question: How could God love me? But then we all discover that our greatest problem is: How can I love God?
See, while God is the very definition of beauty, pre-conversion me was a hardened rebel. While God's true North perfection was burning white hot, my soul's compass was fixed toward Hell.
This is much like Beauty and the Beast, Beauty has to win the Beast. The one worthy of love in the movie had to sacrifice and be thought a fool by the rest of the town to win the heart of the Beast. When the town was wondering "how could she love him?" she was working on making him love her. This is strikingly similar to the Gospel. The definition of beauty humbled Himself to win the hearts of beasts.
Ezekiel chapter 16 paints a more ugly picture of us to make this point, the book of Hosea paints a similarly disgusting picture of us and both to make the same point: God sought after and won the hearts of those who lacked any inner and/or outer beauty that could draw Him to them.
"But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
But not only are we loved in this ultimate Beauty and the Beast story, but we're also loved in a Princess and the Frog way. The lovely Royalty of royalty, the King of kings finds we toads and loves us. He loves us in a metamorphic way that transforms us into princes and princesses ourselves. Through His sanctifying and glorifying love He transforms us "from one degree of glory to another" into something really beautiful. The King bends down to beautify the frog, warts and all, into a gorgeous queen.
How could God love me? I truly don't know how or why. How can I love God? Only through the power of His love.
Give thanks that Beauty wins the Beast today.