My dad invented the dad joke. Most mornings I watched him in the mirror as he shaved.
“Do you know French fries aren’t cooked in France?” he’d say. “They’re cooked in Greece.”
Dad could get serious too. A World War II veteran, Dad taught me about The Blitz, when waves of Luftwaffe bombers dropped their lethal baggage on London. During 57 consecutive nights of bombing, 30,000 Londoners died, and another 50,000 were injured.
One thing gave them hope. Courageous Royal Air Force pilots rose in their Spitfires and Hurricanes to battle the Germans in the night skies. Winston Churchill said, “Never in the history of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”
Because of the pilots’ bravery, Hitler eventually called off the blitz and Londoners continued to adore those heroic pilots. But though the Hurricane fighter planes were agile, their fuel lines ran alongside the cockpit. A direct hit caused the pilot to be engulfed in flames. Even those who ejected had every feature of their face burned beyond recognition.
Plastic surgeons attempted to refashion their faces, often with up to forty procedures. Morale remained high, but when the pilots were released, many could not face life outside. Their faces were essentially a scar. Who would love a face like that? Who would give it a job, marry it, see beyond it to the person they still were?
Some wives and girlfriends were unable to accept the new reality and walked away. But many stayed. In the book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Dr. Brand tells of Peter Foster whose girlfriend loved him, not just his face and the two were married shortly after his release. While adults looked away and children made faces at Peter, he learned to turn toward his wife.
“She became my mirror,” he said. “She gave me a new image of myself…when I look at her, she gives me a warm, loving smile. That tells me I am okay.”
All of us are mirrors. What do others see in us? Like Peter’s wife, we can mirror God’s love to the downcast and hurting, those forgotten by a culture that values—even worships—beauty, strength, health, and wealth. Jesus saw beyond our faults, and while we were still sinners died that we might have life in Him. Today we will encounter those who need to see the love of Jesus. May they see it mirrored in us.
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