Not long ago, I came across an incredible story—the story of Mary Ann Bevan, the “Ugliest Woman in the World.” She was actually a beautiful woman in her youth. She married and had four children. She was educated as a nurse and quite prosperous. Yet in her early thirties, she developed acromegaly, a disease that caused her face to become distorted and her body to grow abnormally. After a time, her husband died unexpectedly, leaving her as sole caretaker for her children. But, sadly, no one would hire her because of her appearance. So, what did she do? She chose to flaunt her disfigurement. She willingly became a circus curiosity—“The World’s Ugliest Woman”—allowing people to pay money to gawk at her face and body so her children might live and thrive and have plenty to eat.

What a sacrifice of love. What a testament to real beauty.

I wonder sometimes if we truly understand what deep sacrifice is. It’s uncomfortable. It’s degrading. It’s humiliating, crushing, heartbreaking, overwhelming. Yet, like Mary Ann Bevan, Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself anyway. He “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2, ESV). But His sacrifice on the cross has become the most beautiful picture of love this world has ever known.

Have you spent time lately pondering the incredible sacrifice of Jesus on the cross? Have you considered His choice to come and die so that you might spiritually live? We try to make ‘sacrifice’ such a complicated thing, but it’s not. It’s simple. It is profound love that’s profoundly beautiful.

Take a moment today to thank Jesus for His beautiful sacrifice. Then choose to receive His all-consuming love. After all, love is why He came.

His love for you. And His love for me.

*Originally published by The Joyful Life Magazine.