All Posts /

When You See the Face of God

When You See the Face of God

It was my husband Nate’s sabbatical week. February gave us sixty-five degrees and sunny for the first half of his week at home with us, perfect for family walks and basketball on the driveway and pushing our littlest people on the swing. I look forward to this week, when we have extra-long “dates” in the morning, our time together bleeding like watercolors outside the schedule, and take slow sips of life. Except this particular week, I was sick. And then Nate was ill. And then, like dominoes, each of our children went down with the same sickness. I didn’t step outside for two days. I watched spring’s dress rehearsal through my bedroom window.

Half the week passed, and we all shuffled through our days in pajamas and bedheads. The sickness finally lifted, followed by a downpour lasting for days. Figures. It was the first morning of Lent, a new season, the one when we walk the road of the cross in our hearts. And here I was again, walking it in my life.

I opened my psalter, a gift from a friend, to read this: “What does it mean that believers will see the face of God? It means we will become ourselves, finally. It means dawn will rise on the dark gray of this fallen world. It means final rest will be ours.... As the very end of the Bible puts it:

They will see His face.’ — Revelation 22:4

If this whole life builds to the moment when we get to see His face, why do we spend a lifetime reaching for something else and expect to — boom — acquire a taste for the beauty of His face the moment we make that step into eternity? Most of us live this way.

What My Heart Needed

That gray morning, reading about the coming dawn and knowing my desire for a fresh dawn that day, I knew what my heart needed. This Man. This God who took on flesh and walked among us. I needed to see the look on His face as I walked the way of the cross with my children, to see how He watched me when I fumbled through another valley. I needed to see the weight in His eyes as He beheld His daughter and as He held me.

Sometimes at night, I go into the room of our youngest two and watch them sleep. Their bodies are still in the night — no fussing or fighting or spilling-over enthusiasm. Watching them in their stillness, I remember Virginia’s poetic language and Charlotte’s strength in spirit and body. I can barely contain my affection as I look at them, holding what feels like a whole lifetime for them in my heart. I see my baby girls as they are now and as they will grow to be one day. I ache to pick them up, snuggle their bodies close against my skin, and run my fingers through their hair, still wet from the bath. I want to smell their sleep sweat and kiss the baby fat around Char’s wrist.

  • I wonder about God’s face when I sleep.

His look down the corridor of my day, with a view beyond the rim of my life. I wonder what He notices that I don’t, how I might chide myself for what I didn’t do in a moment, but He sees that moment differently. I wonder if He loves the scent of my still shower-wet hair or wants to trace my fingernails or my freckles like I do my girls’, unthinkingly, when I hold their hands or their faces in my hands.

God loved His children with this consuming love far before I felt it for my children. And while Revelation talks about seeing His face one day, we can see glimpses of it now. I’m invited, like the psalmist, to see His face — the God who spoke to Moses “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11 ESV).

Your face, Lord, do I seek. — Psalm 27:8 ESV

is a prayer for today.

A View That’s Coming

It’s like a hike that Nate and I used to do every year for our anniversary.

“Old Rag” in Virginia has an elevation of about 2,500 feet, which is relatively high for the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nine miles long, the hike takes a good portion of the day, but because those were our younger years and we lived only about an hour from the base of the mountain, we hiked to the top each year, timing ourselves. We had a set of traditions that we adhered to on this anniversary hike, but what I remember most is the view at the top. Two or three times during the trek we’d catch a glimpse of what we’d see at the top, but for much of our plodding our view was just rows of forestry. We hiked it not because it was rigorous but for that view and those glimpses en route.

It’s a picture of my life in God: climbing, plodding, often without a view but knowing that a view is coming, that vistas along the way will spur us on. The view at the end is our goal, and the promise of His face gives us endurance, but I suppose I’m an anxious girl on Christmas morning who appreciates a stocking before the presents.

The flashes of His face, watching me watching Him, enable endurance. They are the best of life within the fence line. Eve hid in the garden from the One who knew where she was yet still asked, “Where are you?”

God searches to find because He put in us a craving to be found.

And that place where we’re found, where we see Him seeing us, is inside His fence line.

Adapted from The Gift of Limitations by Sara Hagerty, copyright Sara Hagerty.

* * *

Your Turn

Are you searching for God? He loves you. He leans in to hear your breath. He rejoices over you! Someday, the dark gray will fade away and we will actually see Jesus face-to-Face. Until then, let’s seek His face! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full