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About My Blog’s Title

I caught a glimpse of Your splendor
In the corner of my eye
The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen
And it was like a flash of lightning
Reflected off the sky
And I know I’ll never be the same

Moses is probably the mortal man who has had the closest relationship ever with God; God said of Moses, “I speak with him face to face, / Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; / And he sees the form of the Lord” (Num. 12:8). Whom else has God ever conversed with “face to face”? Moses even had the amazing experience of seeing God’s back – has any other human being ever seen a part of God as Moses did? And yet even Moses, who spoke to God “as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11), could never see God’s face in all its glory. When Moses asked God to “show me Your glory” (Ex. 33:18), God replied by saying, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Ex. 33:20). Moses had to be content with seeing God’s back, yet even this sight was enough to make his face shine brightly before the children of Israel (Ex. 34:29).

Show me Your glory
Send down Your presence
I want to see Your face
Show me Your glory
Majesty shines about You
I can’t go on without You, Lord

What is a face? The dictionary blandly defines the noun as “the front of the human head, where the eyes, nose, mouth, chin, cheeks, and forehead are.” This is a scientific, naturalistic definition of the physical face, yet the definition misses the greatest meaning of the word. Someone’s face is who they are – it is the essence of their being. (I am not speaking of just physical faces – God would not have a physical face – though the physical face is doubtless the clearest representation we have of a person in their bodily form.) You can see other parts of a person’s body, but as long as their face is covered, you will feel like you have not really seen them. Ultimately, to really see someone, you must see their face and gaze into their eyes – until that visual communication takes place, you have not really seen the person.

When I climb down the mountain
And get back to my life
I won’t settle for ordinary things
I’m gonna follow You forever
For all of my days
I won’t rest ’til I see You again
(“Show Me Your Glory” by Third Day)

Such is the power of gazing into someone’s face. Imagine, then, what it would mean to see God’s face – to see the essence of His Being. The experience is so incredible that God said no man can see His face and live. In his sublime work Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis explores the awesome topic of faces and their significance to both our physical and spiritual lives. Throughout the story, the hideously-ugly character of Orual hides her face behind a veil in order to remain “secret,” as she puts it. The first part of the book is Orual’s case against the gods, where she demands an answer for the unjust way in which they have treated her. The second part of the book is her discussion of the answer the gods gave her and what she has learned from the experience. Orual writes, “I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” How can we see God face to face till we have faces with which to see Him?

Oh Lord, you’re beautiful,
Your face is all I see,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.
(“Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful” by Keith Green)

In the end, what Christian would not want to see God’s face? As Orual writes, “I ended my first book with the words no answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice? Only words, words; to be led out to battle against other words.” God’s face is the answer to all our questions. All our theological debates, physical and emotional pains, and insecurities will instantly vanish when we finally behold His face. But we cannot see His face just yet. Human beings are born with ugly, disfigured, hideous spiritual faces, just as Orual was born with such a physical face. It is through our journey of life, as we seek God above all else, that He changes our spiritual faces to be beautiful, capable of one day seeing Him. As Renaissance sculptors thought that they were liberating their sculpture from its imprisonment within a block of marble, so God is liberating our true faces from their sick and ugly imprisonment. The process is painful and may require a loss of much that we hold dear (after all, a sculpture is created by chipping away the unnecessary parts), but it will all be worth it. As Orual realized at the end of Till We Have Faces, the difficulties in her life were allowed in order to refine her and make her as beautiful as her sister, Psyche. At the end of it all, we will be able to stand before God and gaze into His face – He is giving us faces so that we might one day see His.

Reach out to Jesus, embrace Him,
Turn your life around to face Him.
You’ll find mercy, you’ll see grace,
Love and beauty defined in His face.
(“The Rest Is Up to You” by Relient K)

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