contemplating God’s unmasked face (in the season of COVID-19)

Face-to-face.

Same air.

Same room.

Fullness of countenance.

No masks.

Full, deep breaths.

No fear.

It’s been a foreign concept for about nine months now.

It’s something we long for, yearn for, dream about, pray and plead for. Some let tears fall frequently, wondering if they will ever see the day where they can once again embrace their children and grandchildren without fearing for their health and lives. Those with immunocompromised systems cling to FaceTime and Zoom for any sort of community, doing their best to ignore the disconnect and loneliness a screen can evoke. Parents wonder about the detrimental effects these shut-in months will have on their littles. The elderly long for a tender visit from their grandchildren. Students and teachers fumble over frustrating, confusing electronic communication.

The isolation is wrecking havoc, and we long for the intimacy that has evaded us.

We long to be face-to-face.

This season has had me praying “come, Lord Jesus, come” more than any other time in my entire life. I’m young, but I’ve heard many older people echo the sentiment.

It makes me long to see my parents, my brother, my friends, my neighbors, even the people who check out my groceries at Aldi more than ever before.

Face-to-face.

But something more interesting has come from this season as well: more than that, I am longing, yearning, thrusting, hungering to see my God face-to-face, in all His glory, in all His fullness.

Paul describes this fullness:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

– i Corinthians 13:12

I am yearning for this wholeness of His presence, this fullness of being known and knowing God.

We have the Holy Spirit, Christians. We have His presence, truly.

But man, there’s something about when Scripture describes when we will be with Him forever, in His fullness of glory. With His fullness of presence.

I feel like Moses, who knew Yahweh’s presence, it even says he talked to Him “face-to-face, like one talks to a friend”! (Exodus 33:11). Yet Moses longed for even more. He wanted more of God. He wanted to see Him in all His glory, in all His goodness, in all His kindness, and in all His majesty, that He asked God if he could see Him in His fullnessjust once.

Face-to-face with the God who spoke him into existence.

I want to be like Moses, and see God in all His glory, and be so in awe that even the back-side of His presence makes me blind and my face glow like a lightblub for three days.

After that, I want to sit down to walk with Him, eat dinner with Him, ask Him all the questions, listen to His stories and words, and hear Him belly-laugh because I have spaghetti on my face, and adore Him until He tucks me in tight, tenderly kissing my forehead, promising to never leave me, His fullness protecting me, a guard around me, body and soul. I want to breathe in His air, scan every crevice of His character, close my eyes to feel His kindness warm my cheeks, and taste the honey-sweet fruit of His glory.

All of this with no fear of illness, no fear that our time will soon come to an end, no fear of isolation ever again.

Face-to-face with the God who spoke me into existence.

Face-to-face matters; God designed us for it. You are wired for it. He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden for a reason. Even though this season might not be fit for it, don’t feel guilty for wanting to be in the same air as your loved ones. Bring that desire to God and ask Him to strengthen you when you feel emotional, mentally, and spiritually weak.

Let that longing full you to love them better, to fight for a day when we don’t have to fear– not Covid-19, not the fallenness of this world.

Face-to-face.

Oh, what a day.

In Him,

Mary Mad

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