August 16, 2013 by John Nicholas Prassas
Yet Franklin was the most beautiful person in the world to me.
He was my first pro football camp roommate and the first ‘born again’ Christian I had ever met.
Franklin was full of fiery passion and calm authority. He was tough as nails yet gentle as a lamb. He was a regular guy but he had a supernatural spirit. He had a big laugh, a big appetite and a big Bible that he read every morning and night. And he cared about me enough to reach through our comfort zone to connect.
Naturally, I would chuckle and dismiss his proclamations. As a recent Ivy League college grad and prized free agent player on the team, I was ‘too smart and too strong’ to accept his Jesus-talk. After all, in my book Jesus was a ‘crutch’ for weak, poor and ignorant people.
But Franklin made an indelible impression on my soul, as did other born-again Christians I soon met on my teams and elsewhere. He was genuine. He was honest. He had a refreshing purity about him. And I could tell he loved me in spite of my foul-hearted and lost condition, which was somehow exposed in his presence.
A couple of short years later my wife Suzi and I were back home in California visiting churches and seeking answers, when we finally met and surrendered to Jesus and received his forgiveness, eternal life and Holy spirit.
Ever since then I’ve noticed that true beauty goes beyond appearances. Man judges by outward appearances but God judges the heart.
The most beautiful person to someone who’s lonely is whoever reaches out to them.
The same applies to sick, sad, addicted, dysfunctional and ultimately lost people. They find beauty in the person who delivers God’s grace to them, people like you and me – whether at work, school, in the neighborhood or on a bus, airplane, highway or at the country club. Wherever needs exist.
I started talking with a couple of women standing near me, one of whom was a 30-ish blonde wearing a surfer dress and sandals, who was smiling and free-spirited but seemed to be disturbed.
She explained that just three days before she had narrowly escaped injury at Venice beach where a madman drove his car through a crowd, hurting and killing people including a young Italian woman visiting on her honeymoon. Apparently it had been on the news, which I had purposely avoided while on vacation.
Tears welled in her eyes as she told how sad and traumatic the event had been as she observed the dead woman lying just a few feet away. She was struggling to get past the trauma and wasn’t sure she ever would.
I listened and told her I understood how impactful such an experience could be, and kept listening as she vented.
I also listened to a whisper from God’s Spirit, encouraging me to help her if I could.
I finally asked the woman if I could pray for her, then watched her face register a combination of surprise, uncertainty and gratitude all at once. “Sure,” she said, “that would be good.”
After asking if I could touch her shoulder and inviting the other woman (who I sensed might be a believer) to join me, we prayed for God’s peace and healing presence to touch her – right there in the middle of the crowd.
The woman’s eyes welled again, this time from the wave of love washing over her, as so often happens when a person receives prayer, and she smiled with some relief. “Thank you!” She said, sniffling and collecting herself.
She thanked me several more times as we filed onto the plane and seemed to think I was somebody special…quite possibly the most beautiful person in the world.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation.” Isaiah 52:7
Thank you Heavenly Father for sending your beautiful son Jesus to rescue, touch and transform us. Help us to see the deepest needs of those around us and to reach past our comfort zones to connect with them. Fill us with your Spirit that we might touch the world with truth, love, grace and mercy – and be the most beautiful people in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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