I’m always amazed at the way our small children can teach us deep truths about God.
When our third son was born, his older brothers were eager to meet him. They each got to hold him, kiss him, and love on him. Even after we were home from the hospital, they couldn’t get enough of the new baby, always wanting to see and touch him.
After a great many holdings and kisses and too-strong hugs, I began to weary of their enthusiasm. It took a lot of energy to oversee their boyish love on a newborn, so frequently I’d only allow them to look on while I held the baby. They were fairly happy with this arrangement, except when he had his face buried in my shoulder or nuzzled to my chest. Then came the question:
“Mommy, can I see his face?”
At first I was annoyed by the question. It’s a lot of trouble to shift a sleeping newborn just so his big brother can look at him. But I soon began to see a deeply human desire already present in my young children: the desire to know and be known face to face. They weren’t just happy with a tiny hand, a chubby leg, or a patch of soft, reddish hair; they wanted to see his eyes, to read his expressions, to connect.
My boys’ question brings to mind Moses and his bold request to see God in Exodus 33. Few men in history have ever walked so closely with God, enjoying such powerful physical manifestations of His presence, and yet Moses yearned for more. He longed to really see God.
The Lord said, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” But then He said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
Moses got to see God’s hand and His back, in all His goodness and glory! Ah, but not His face. I have to wonder if that satisfied Moses at all, or only left him with a deep ache to see more.
We have been given many, many promises about the return of Jesus and the gathering of His followers to spend eternity with Him.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
“I go to prepare a place for you… so I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
“When he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
“He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.”
When my children ask me, “Mommy, can I see His face?” I can’t wait to tell them:
Yes, my child. One day, you will.