How do we 'Seek God's face'?
Psalm 119:58 says 'I have sought your face with all my heart' and to 'seek God's face' appears in Christian songs and prayers. It is a spiritual sounding phrase, and yet we probably haven't thought about how we might do it. So how can we actually seek God's face?
I would like you to consider two scenarios:
You are at a gathering of adults and children - say a BBQ or a birthday party. A toddler has lost contact with her parent. She toddles around and grabs on to an adult leg. She looks up at the adult's face, hoping to recognise it. When she doesn't recognise it she moves on to the next adult. When she finally looks up and sees her mum, her face breaks into a smile and she holds up her arms expectantly. Her mum picks her up and everything is alright in the world.
Take yourself back in time, before instagram, before facebook, before FaceTime, before Skype, and before digital photos. You are tasked with going to pick up a family relative from the airport. Although you met this uncle when you were a toddler, you have no recollection of what he looks like. You get a description from an older family member and make your way to the international arrivals hall at the airport. People are coming out of immigration, pushing trolleys laden with luggage. Bleary eyes and eager eyes scan faces hoping for a flash of recognition. After several false starts you spot a man that you think might be your uncle. You look intently at him and wave your arm, trying to get his attention. You almost will him to turn his head in your direction. Then all of a sudden your eyes meet and the light in his eyes confirms that he is your uncle. Across the crowd he signals the direction he will head in and you move to meet him.
Although God doesn't have a physical face that we can seek, we can get some clues from these two scenarios about how we can 'Seek God's face'.
We need to:
Take our Time - to seek anyone or anything and especially God, we need to set aside time and distractions.
Focus on Features - Take time to meditate on the characteristics of God we have learnt from the bible, from others and our own experience.
Recognise the Connection - as we still ourselves and focus on who God is, there will often be an aspect of who God is (His presence, holiness, power, love, grace.... ) that seems to become especially real or important - it is a point of connection. Recognise it, treasure it, and ponder it.
Respond to any Realisation/Revelation - As we spend time with God in this way, we may come to a fresh realisation about some aspect of who God is or who we are as God's children. We might get a fresh perspective on an issue. We might have a thought about how to pray for a particular person/situation or even about a new person/situation to pray for. We may also receive a revelation from God as a prophetic word, a scripture, or a picture. It is important that we value these realisations and revelations by responding to them. It may be as simple as praying for the person/situation right away. Or it may be planning to do something different in the next few days.
If we do these things, we will be 'seeking the face of God'.
Two final thoughts:
The scenario of the toddler above is particularly pertinent as Jesus teaches us that we should receive the Kingdom of God like little children (Mark 10:15)
If 'Focusing on Features' of God seems a bit too abstract, 2 Cor 4:6 says "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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ". So another way of 'Focusing on the Features' is to pick an event from the life of Jesus as recorded in a Gospel and meditate on it by turning it over in our minds, thinking about the scene from different perspectives and pondering what Christ's words and actions reveal about the character of God.