"A Face of Grace"
The gentleman's countenance expressed the look of someone who would respond if I offered greetings. Sure enough, he did, with a beautiful smile and enthusiastic greeting in return. We didn't stop to chat, but I wish we had as the man looked like one of those folks you'd like to know.
"Thou hast made him most blessed for ever: Thou hast made him exceeding glad with Thy countenance" (Psalm 21:6).
Frances and I encountered the older gentleman in the happiest place of any grocery story. Yes, the ice cream aisle can bring a smile to anyone's face. Perhaps that's the reason the man seemed so pleasant. I don't think so, however. His response to my overture was too warm and his smile too genuine for a mere ice cream induced delight. It came from somewhere deeper than that. Of course, I don't know if he is a believer, although I wouldn't be surprised to discover he is. I wonder if he consistently gazes into the face, as it were, of our Heavenly Father, as enabled by the Lord Jesus Christ and led by the Holy Spirit. This elicits a face of grace in us as we "behold in a glass the glory of the Lord" and are thereby "changed into the same image" (II Corinthians 3:18).
All this reminded me of a thought I frequently ponder. What will it be like when first we look into the face of the Lord Jesus? In one sense, I don't think we can even imagine the wonder of that initial moment in His direct presence. Indeed, I don't know what else to write about this most blessed of matters. The blessed hope transcends imagination. On the other hand, I think we may also feel a very comfortable sense of familiarity if we sought to walk consistently with the Lord during our earthly lifetime. We presently cannot look into His face in a physical sense. But we spiritually behold Him as we look into His Word. Or as we turn our hearts Heavenward in prayer. Or as our brothers and sisters' faces shine with the light of His countenance. Or as we see the glory of God in creation. Our first physical gaze upon the Lord Jesus will surely reflect the spiritual moments of our lives that displayed His unseen countenance to our hearts.
Moses descended from Sinai with a face so ignited by God and His law that it had to be hidden with a veil (II Corinthians 3:13). The Lord Jesus, conversely, descended from Heaven with the light of God shining in a face of unveiled grace and truth. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9). Those who trust the Lord and walk with Him also illuminate their spheres of influence with His reflected light. There's just something in the face of those who know His grace. Even more, in our demeanor, attitude, words, actions, and relating to people, we reflect the illumination of fellowship with God. Long before we speak, we communicate.
Shining in the face of those who know His grace,
a light, a light bears witness to the Lord.
No word may yet be spoken,
no silence need be broken
to hear the speaking, living Word.
May our faces be open. May we look like someone who would respond to greeting, or who would offer greeting. Multitudes came to the Lord Jesus because He clearly had come to them in loving openness. I thought about such things last night after looking into the kindly gentleman's face. I know you join me in hoping to think further of such glory in this day by looking upon our Lord's face, and thus shining forth with His countenance.
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
(II Corinthians 4:6)
Weekly Memory Verse
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.