"Here my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me." Psalm.27:7-8.
Many years ago a young man living in China wondered about the stories concerning Jesus. He heard missionaries speak of this man. They said he was the living God who came down to earth, born as a baby, died as a man. They said that after he was crucified he came to life again two days later and that now he is the ruler of the whole Universe. Even more amazing was the idea that it was possible to know him as a friend, not just for now, but for eternity. "Just ask", they said.
The young man was troubled. How wonderful it would be to know Jesus, to meet him, to see his face. But then, it could all be a fairy story, how could anyone know? The young man wasn't sure; it was all a mystery to him.
One day he went walking in the hills that surrounded his village. It was toward the end of winter; the snow had begun to melt. Large blotches of brown earth began to peek through the white snow. The cold of winter was passing. He had taken his camera to catch the beauty of the Spring thaw. As he walked he wondered about this Jesus. If only he could see his face, then he could believe.
His heart was heavy, his head hung low. Beside the pathway he noticed a pattern in the snow. It was as if the snow stood out from the patches of brown earth beneath. He stopped and looked again. Suddenly, a face appeared in the snow as if from nowhere. Blind one minute and seeing the next. Was this the face of Jesus, he thought. He took out his camera and photographed the melting snow. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't.
As he walked home the hills seemed different. They sang out the glory of the Lord. The face of Jesus was everywhere.
We very rarely see in life the hidden presence of the living God. Most of the time it seems like a meaningless pattern without purpose. Random shades devoid of meaning. We rarely see His face.
Some years ago I felt miles away from Jesus. It was as if he were nowhere to be found. I could not see his face. I decided to set a date and a place to meet him. He would show himself to me or else. Early on the morning I set out for a secluded bushland setting I knew very well. I climbed the cliff that backed onto the park. Way above the valley floor I sat on a great rock overlooking the bushland below, and I waited. And I waited and I waited and I waited. And I saw nothing, nothing but random shades of black and white, brown and green. "Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me."
The presence of the living God only ever becomes real to those who search for him - to those who seek meaning in the random shades of life. His presence can be found in the quietness of worship, in reverence and awe. He can be found in the wonder of his Word, by simply reading the Bible. He can be experienced in the love of his people, in the gentle touch of compassion. He can be experienced in the keeping of his promises; like a good friend he does what he says he will do. He can be experienced in the gift of his inner peace. He can be seen in the glory of his creation. Why, if only I had opened my eyes on that day all those years ago, I would have seen meaning in the form of nature.
If you look carefully enough the meaningless shades have form. They actually form his presence. Like the random shades of the photograph above, the face of Jesus can be seen by those who take the time to look.