1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said unto Samuel, "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (KJV)
For some time now, I have been collecting feathers as I find them while walking. They are not in abundance. Days, sometimes weeks, will go by without seeing a single feather. I have quite a little collection: a seemingly perfectly-formed black feather that ripples like the finest silk when stroking its shaft between my thumb and fingers; soft, white wisps of downy-like feathers; a long sleek black, one-sided quill which, if sharpened, would form a most elegant pen.
They're not all perfectly formed, smooth as silk or of downy softness. Some are rather ragged, or weather-beaten.
Especially so is the one I found last week — the one I almost tossed aside. It is by far the tallest feather in the collection. Its vanes on one side, separated and stuck together in batches of five or ten, have spaces in between, on top of which are folded some of the vanes from the opposite side. The shaft is split and weathered. There is almost something poetic about this feather, for the folded vanes "flow" into the separated, stuck together ones, creating a certain sense of "movement". The shaft, though split lengthwise and "string-like", still holds the vanes together.
It is becoming one of my most treasured, most beautiful feathers in the collection.
That is what kept me from discarding it, for it reminded me how blessed we are to have a God who doesn't discard us for our faults, for our inadequacies, for our appearance. A God who looks at our heart, our soul — who is at our very heart, who is in our very soul. A God who is our shaft, a God who holds us together.
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, help us as we try to see others as you would see them, to look not upon their outward appearance, but to search ourselves to see that we might look upon their hearts. Help us to recognize that those who seem to be the most "weathered" are often those "anchored to the shaft". Help us to realize that from them, there is much to be learned. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.