Psalm 102:2 – Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. (NIV)
As I entered the door with loaded hands, my golden retriever bounded across the living room. Reacting to her eighty-plus pounds of flying fur, I commanded, "Off, girl, off!" Simultaneously, I shoved with my knee and turned my back to her. Because turning my back was body language for "You are in the dog house," she sulked off to the corner.
The use of body language to communicate did not originate with dog trainers. In the Old Testament, the psalmist used the imagery of body language. When he graphically cried out to God not to hide His face, but to turn His ear to him, he was asking God to be present and to hear his plea. Similarly, Paul promised God's attentive presence by using the imagery of the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (NIV)
Likewise, hymn writers used imagery to convey God's presence. For example, the writer of "Face to Face" promised believers, "Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by." This hymn expressed our hope that we will see Jesus, either when we die or when He comes again. This great hope has long been my brother's solace. His e-mail tag line has been the word "Maranatha" (which means "Our Lord, come!"). Though suffering, he nevertheless has looked constantly forward to Christ's return. Through his life, he has believed that on the great and glorious day of the Lord, every tear would be wiped from his eyes. This has given him the strength to carry on.
We who know Christ Jesus as our Lord and Saviour have this confidence that someday we will see Him face to face. Believing this imparts to the believer strength and assurance in all our current trials. It has been my hope, my assurance, and my joy as I deal with my brother's ongoing illness.
Prayer: Lord God Almighty, we praise You for Christ Jesus, who opened the way for us into Your presence. We pray for the grace to look forward, instead of questioning why. Meanwhile, we pray for the strength to carry on and the ability to share our Christian hope with others. We rejoice that someday we will see Jesus face to face, and we pray in His name. Amen.