Oh, the unique challenges awaiting the woman approaching middle age! Imagine waking up one morning to find your face sort of lying in a pool beside you. Your once tight abs have been replaced with something rather squishy that has to be gathered up (starting somewhere around the knees) and tucked into industrial–strength, control-top pantyhose. Imagine suddenly realizing that your thighs almost create sparks when you walk. Your biceps are so deflated that in a strong breeze you worry that they might actually make a flapping sound. Maybe you don’t have to imagine it. Maybe you’re living it.
God might have knit these bodies together out of a more “permanent press” kind of fabric. He could have built in a kind of stretch that wouldn’t lose its elasticity around middle age. But he didn’t. And through our aging and all the challenges we live through, he teaches us what’s really important.
The Proverbs 31 “wife of noble character” got in on that teaching. She could “laugh at the days to come” (verse 25). Her future held flabby abs and combustible thighs too. But she could laugh. Why?
The passage describes a woman who seems just about perfect. Many Bible teachers call her the “virtuous woman,” and she makes Martha Stewart look like a novice. She keeps her husband happy; she works eagerly; she gets up early and stays up late. She gives to others generously, makes her own clothes, is an eloquent teacher, and her kids love her. A woman like this “who can find,” indeed! She is a formidable pattern, an intimidating example.
But look past the outward layer. Look deeper. You’ll see a woman of wisdom who fully understood what was really important. She understood what it meant to work hard and to serve God with her whole heart. She understood that everything of consequence was wrapped up in him. Serving others came as a natural extension of serving him.
There’s only one metamorphosis that matters—and it will keep every woman eternally beautiful. It’s a metamorphosis of the heart. The Scripture says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Having a heart of unselfish service that has been transformed by Christ—that’s what’s important. And that is what gives us the ability to laugh at the future . . . even if it involves flabby thighs.
When your attention to appearance gets out of whack and your focus is more on looks than on eternal things, how might “fearing the Lord” turn your focus back to where it needs to be?