Seeing the Face of GOD

(as you read this, play this song.)

Ever thought about it? Not much? Yeah, me neither.


There is basically nothing better. Everything beautiful that we see, whether it be a brilliant red rose, a pair of piercing eyes, a snow-capped mountain or a intricately-carved cathedral ... it's not even worth comparing. Shouldn't we at least be excited about it? Ponder it once or twice a week, at least? It it a lack of imagination? Why don't we desire it? Frankly, what on earth is our problem?!

I think we'd like to say it's because we can't imagine it. At first thought, it sounds perfectly true - "I have no idea what God's face would look like!"

Tell me. Have you never seen anything truly beautiful? Never looked up at the sky when it holds a full moon, watched a sunset from your roof, seen the foaming ocean, or beheld deep love in someone's eyes? The world is pulsing with beauty. Every single one of those things is like a little bit of God. What if we could combine all the gorgeous things we could think of into one single intensely beautiful thing? It would be unbelievably stunning. We'd probably hardly be able to look at it. The face of the one who created beauty itself will be a thousand times more breath-taking. In fact I think I'd drop dead right then and there from sheer awe. It's not wonder God says that no one can see him and live.

So then, perhaps it is possible to imagine it, albeit to a very small extent. I'm going to challenge myself to this, and you as well: the next time you see something gorgeous, stop and think, "Hey ... someday I'm going to behold the face of God, and it is going to be like this, only more incredible."

You know, Faces are one of the most beautiful things on earth. Especially the eyes. It's what we think at the first thought of a person. The face. So how about God's face? The most intimate, emotional, personal part of him... ah, I'm blowing my mind.

But I'm not done yet. You know, sights are beautiful, but what about emotions, music, or even sensations? Yeah, seeing something mind-blowing would be awesome, but what about the other senses? Why should seeing something be the biggest bang?

Well God is the creator of all those other senses, isn't he? God is not just a sight. In fact, that's all we don't do here on Earth - see him. We can hear him in a beautiful symphony, we feel him in a hug. I've posted about this before, but when I get a strong emotion, it's one of the closet things to describing God for me. He is much more than sight. On Earth, things are disconnected. A sunset has no music. A feeling has no sight. A touch has no sound. But in Heaven? I bet it's all packaged together.

So let's add to our picture. Let's add the sound of thunderous fireworks echoing off surrounding mountains, and a beautiful, soaring voice singing. The roar of the ocean. The rich softness of a cello. A chorus of birds. The majesty of Zimmer's "Run Free."

Now the touch. A soft, fuzzy blanket. The exhilarating shock of falling into cold water. A lover's gentle caress. Sand between your fingers. Wind in your hair.

How about taste and smell? I'm pretty sure seeing the face of God has never been likened to enjoying a fresh, hot piece of pizza ... but that's a pleasurable sensation! Or a cold drink running down your throat. How about the smell of lilacs, or of rain?

And now emotions. The quiet and effortlessly warm feeling of joy and the flying, spinning feeling of bliss. Heart-pounding adrenaline. The wild, fresh, reckless feeling of standing on a roof in a storm.

Are you looking forward to seeing the face of God yet?

In 1 Timothy it says God"dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see." Wow. Okay, I have to admit that gets me excited. Can't you just imagine that swirling, exploding, pulsating, cacophonous flow of light emanating from and encompassing Him? Incandescent, blinding, searing. Nothing less will do, for the King of kings. People, this is huge. This is the experience to top all others. In the words of Randy Alcorn, not only will we see his face and live...

We will likely wonder if we ever lived before we saw his face.


Grace is changing me

Hello, everyone. I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted.

Things have changed. I've been re-reading old posts... like Waiting. Wow. I read that with a heavy, heavy feeling inside. I remember so well that dead, crushed feeling I had when I wrote that. It kind of comes back when I read it, the feeling that nothing matters... of waiting for happiness to come again.

I'm not there anymore. Thanks to my mighty, beautiful, wonderful King. He has had so much mercy on me. It's unbelievable.

I'd have to say, it's really encouraging to watch myself, in a way, go through this as I read through this and my journal. I find it amazing how God gave me the courage to say "I know good will come of this! I know God will come to rescue!" ... when I had no proof or assurance that he would. Just blind trust. And you know what's even more encouraging? That he did.

God is working in me ... I don't see it very well, but I know it's happening. He is rescuing me and showing me a little more each day, why Josh died.

I visited his grave a couple weeks ago, by myself. The whole visit felt like a 1-hour rerun of the past few months. As soon as I saw his grave, again, I began to cry. My heart broke all over again. I knelt in front of the mound of earth and just cried blankly. Then I began to talk to him. My emotions took the journey that I have. More and more trusting God. More and more seeing good. More and more love, more joy, more hope with each day.
By the time I stood up, I was smiling. Yes, I was smiling at my dear, dear friends grave. How does that even work? Well, God does work in mysterious ways. So I kept smiling. I knew it was right, that everything was okay. In fact, that everything was beautiful, just not in the way I thought it would be. So I said, "goodbye," turned and walked down the path. With hope.

Here is an incredible example for you of the grace God has had on me. The fact that I don't wish Josh would come back. I actually mean that. Yes, I miss him badly and I would love to see him ... but that isn't the way it's supposed to be. There is a reason God took him, and I wouldn't change it.
Maybe this sounds obvious, but for many weeks I could not honestly say I wouldn't take him back. God, in his great mercy, has empowered me to honestly say, "Thank you for taking Josh." There is so much pain, but so much beauty through all this that I wouldn't have it any other way. That is hard to say, but I would make a very poor god. Jesus knows exactly what he's doing.

So that's where I am! Again, I want to thank you so much for your prayers. It means a lot to me. Please, don't stop praying, there are many others who are still hurting badly. Like I said, God has had what seems to be an extra dose of grace on me, perhaps because I am so very weak.

Anyway, that's all... I love you guys. God is so, so good. Don't ever forget it!


Flying in the Wind

At the top of the cliff I was given a mission: Get to the bottom.

So here I am, very carefully climbing down on a nice safe rope, when God said something to me.

"Hey, Ariel. If you let go of that rope, you're going to get to the bottom a lot faster."

I pause. I blink. "Uhh ... that sounds kinda dangerous."

"Only if you were by yourself. You're not."

I feel my hand tightening around my rope. "But, God, that would mean I would be falling. Like, free falling. With no rope. That's scary."

"I know."

"Um, I don't know what's at the bottom."

"I do."

Well, yeah. But that doesn't mean I'm going to like what it is.

God's voice again. "Can you trust me?"

Can I?

Suddenly the rope is pulled away. I start falling, terrified. I reach out toward the rope, clutching desperately.

"Lord! My rope! Don't you know I need that?" I've never lived without my rope. He can't take it away now! I'm falling! Where is God?

...Oh. He's the one who took the rope away. Helplessness overwhelms me. I begin to get mad. How could He do this without telling me? I don't know how to live without it - I'm completely ... completely...


I cry and scream, bouncing between fear and anger. Soon I am completely exhausted. The rope is always too far away, no matter how I reach for it. I'm still falling, falling, falling. For a moment I turn silent, panting, staring at the rope hopelessly.

I hear something. What is that...? I realize it is a voice. A still, small Voice. He was there the whole time, wasn't he? I just couldn't hear Him over my own panicked cries.

And so I listen. God speaks to me, encourages me, tells me He loves me, tells me this is His plan. Every once in a while fear rises in my chest and I once again clutch at the rope. But it's so far away now it's pointless. An idea begins to form in my mind. (At least it seemed that I formed it; most likely it was planted here...)

Slowly, hesitantly, I look up. The sight takes my breath away. Clouds shift and smear across the sky in beautiful patterns, trying to hide a stunning blue. The sun shines bright - suddenly I can feel it on my skin. Warm, beautiful.

Something inside me seems to come alive. I close my eyes and for the first time, I smile. Wow. This is amazing. I can feel the air rushing around me, cold and magnificent. The rush of wind in my ears. Suddenly I feel reckless, daring. I'm falling. I'm actually free falling! What an exhilarating feeling this is!

I hear a soft laugh; it's my God. "You're enjoying it, aren't you?"

My heart is beating fast and energetically. "Yes," I say, in awe. "I am. I can't believe I am."

The rope doesn't matter. I don't even look for it. I simply enjoy the wild feeling of falling - but no. It's not falling. It's flying.

Flying in the wind!