Even though I've thought a lot about this, I'll try to keep this post short to save myself time. I've been thinking about two things, which I call "abstract beauty" and "known beauty". Abstract beauty is what happens when I see beautiful people who I do not personally know. It's abstract because, even though the beauty is real, I don't know the issues they deal with and what's going on in their lives. So in these people, I get to see the exterior beauty, but I do not get to see the interior struggle.
With Known Beauty, this is what happens when I see beautiful people who I know very well. Not only do I get to see their outward beauty, but I also get to see them fight through and overcome difficult situations. I get to see their joy and pain through all the various issues of life, and so to me, their outward beauty is filled with the substance of my knowledge of their inner beauty.
So what I've been thinking about is how amazing it is that so many people with so much brokenness and horror within can be so beautiful on the outside. I'm thinking of both people who overcome their difficulties (like my friends) and people who are overcome by their problems (for a biblical example, Cain). For all these people, outward beauty is a manifestation of the grace of God, which is so incredible to see. I honestly marvel whenever I see beautiful people because outward beauty is a mark and a sign of the grace of God over a person's life.
But if that is a marvel, I am even more astonished at the inward beauty that I have seen in the lives of my friends. If outward beauty is a mark or sign of the grace of God, then inward beauty is the substance of the grace of God filling a person's life. That is truly a profound miracle.