The Lord has created a magnificent universe for us to see and enjoy. From the smallest flower, (Matthew 6:28) to the most distant star, (Psalms 19:1) it is designed for our pleasure. Some, however, are born without sight, and others, like myself, are born with poor vision. I started wearing glasses at eight years of age. My vision steadily worsened, but I thought all was being done to help me see because I already wore glasses! In little league baseball I looked like one of the three stooges, (Larry, Moe, and Curly), when I was playing baseball. I didn’t react in time to be an infielder, and couldn’t judge a fly ball as an outfielder. They tried me out as a pitcher, but removed me from the mound after walking two batters, striking out two, and hitting two others with the baseball! In college, I miraculously survived an accident caused by my poor eyesight. Not until after I was married did I see an optometrist who realized the degree of difficulty I was experiencing. When fitted with the proper glasses I could see the individual leaves on a tree for the first time! After having poor vision for the first twenty five years of my life, I could finally see what was created for me to see.
There is another type of sight for which we have been created as well. It is the sight that allows us to see spiritual truth. The Lord addresses the need for this sight in the following words, “I have come into the world to give sight to those who are spiritually blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” (John 9:39, Living Bible) In the spiritual realm, many spend far more than twenty five years in blindness. We are all born spiritually blind, but only become aware of that fact later in life. The results of spiritual blindness, however, are infinitely more significant than inability to play baseball or to avoid accidents while driving. What is this spiritual blindness to which He refers? He is referring to the refusal to put our trust in Him as our Lord and Savior. If we have received sight through the Grace of God in Christ Jesus, we need to guard this sight lest we become nearsighted and blind through our failure to persevere in our walk with Him. This warning is recorded for us in II Peter 1:5-9. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”
As blessed as we are to enjoy physical and spiritual sight, however, they are only the preliminary gifts of sight! What the Lord has in mind for us to see far surpasses our imagination. It is a sight about which we are told that no one can see and go on living! It is the ultimate in beauty and glory. It is the face of God Himself! The Lord has promised that those who belong to Him will see His face. “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 21:4) This is what the psalmist was anticipating when he wrote these words long ago. “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15) The entire world is after that which satisfies the human soul. It is this vision, the face of God, that brings us the ultimate satisfaction for which we were created. Seeing God face to face is the promise which we have been given for the future. It is of significant interest, then, that we find admonitions to seek His face now. One of these is in Psalm 27:8. “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek!” What does it mean for us to seek His face now?
The scriptures themselves are instructive to those who would seek His face. The psalmist declares, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” (Psalm 24:3-4) The Lord Himself states the following, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Mathew 5:8) In seeking His face, we discover what Thomas Merton describes….”that God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you, and offers you an understanding and light which are like nothing you ever found in books or heard in sermons.” Thomas Merton, The Hidden Ground of Love, ed. William Shannon (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1985) pg.156. Theodore Brakel, a Dutch Pietist in the seventeenth century describes his seeking as follows. “I was ….transported into such a state of joy and my thoughts were so drawn upward that, seeing God with the eyes of my soul, I felt one with him. I felt myself transported into God’s being and at the same time I was so filled with joy, peace and sweetness, that I cannot express it. With my spirit I was entirely in heaven for two or three days.” As quoted in F. Ernest Stoeffler, The Rise of Evangelical Pietism (Leiden: Brill, 1965) pg.149.
We were created to see, not just the material, or the spiritual, but to see the face of God Himself. It is in the seeking of His face now that we discover that God, and God alone, satisfies the longing of our hearts. Until we are with Him in Glory we can only behold Him now with the eyes of our soul. The thirst to see Him, even with the eyes of our soul, is implanted in us by God. (John 17:24) As we respond to this thirst, we are drawn into a worshipful identity with the Trinity, our oneness with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. (John 17:21-22) It is my desire and prayer for you that as you seek Him now your hearts will be filled with His presence as you await the day to see Him face to face.
In Christ, Richard Spann