Seeing God’s Face
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NKJV)
Carrie E. Breck devoted most of her time to caring for her husband and five daughters. But when she sat and rested for a few minutes, she wrote down the poetry she composed mentally as she cooked, cleaned, and completed other household chores.
Biographers estimate that Breck wrote 2,000 poems, some of which were used as hymn lyrics. On one occasion she sent a bundle of poems to Grant Tullar, a musician and composer who often traveled with evangelists and served as their music director. When Tullar read through Breck’s poems, he selected one that fit perfectly with a tune he’d just created.* Together the tune and the poem became “Face to Face”:
Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face—what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me.
Only faintly now I see Him, With the darkling veil between
But a blessed day is coming, When His glory shall be seen.
What rejoicing in His presence When are banished grief and pain,
When the crooked ways are straightened And the dark things shall be plain.
Like Breck, many of us long to see our Savior face to face—to be dazzled by His glory, to know Him as intimately as we are known, and to understand what befuddles us now. But even though we can’t sit down on our front porch and converse with God face to face, we can deepen our relationship with Him.
In Psalm 27, David reveals that we can know God more intimately if we seek His face—dwell in His presence by meditating on His character and by conversing with Him in prayer (vv. 4, 8). Seeking God’s face also involves waiting expectantly and attentively for Him to reveal Himself to us through His written Word (vv. 13-14).
Our spirit’s mirror may be cloudy, but if we gaze into it intently, we see God’s reflection. We’ll never have a perfectly accurate view until we stand in the pure light of heaven, but if we seek His face as zealously as David did, we’ll see “the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living,” and sing songs of praise to Him (vv. 13, 6).
Read Psalm 27. What problems does David mention in this psalm? How did seeking God’s face give him a godly perspective on his problems? How can the truths of this psalm help us respond to our problems in a godly manner?
Read Genesis 32:22-30. Jacob said he’d seen God “face to face.” What did he learn about God in that encounter?
Read Exodus 33:8-11 and Exodus 34:1-8. What was Moses’ relationship with God like? According to 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, why are we more blessed than Moses?
To read all of the lyrics to “Face to Face,” go to http://nethymnal.org/htm/f/a/faceface.htm
Denise K. Loock
*Consult Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Stories or Kenneth Osbeck’s 101 More Hymn Stories, Part 2 for more information about Carrie Breck and Grant Tuller.