Fumes waft thick in my nostrils. Every possession my husband and I could possibly pack into our master bedroom closet forms a teetering mountain on our dining room table. Whatever didn’t fall into the category of hanging clothes occupies every other available square inch under and around. As I strain to focus on writing with my fume-fogged mind, I see the mound of chaos out of the corner of my eye, and I can’t wait to restore order to my home! The glamour of replacing well-worn (a.k.a. embarrassingly soiled) carpet with wood floors alludes this “everything in its place” kind of gal. It’s driving me crazy! I dread the overwhelming prospect of actually putting everything back, but the light at the end of the tunnel begs me to hang on. It promises a perfect ending to the disorder. I just have to survive the meantime…the time of waiting for what I know will make everything better. My hope is in regaining a neat and orderly home. It’s silly, isn’t it? I’m glad to say, by God’s grace, disorder doesn’t steal my joy to the same degree it did in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for things to be put back the way they were. But it’s not stealing my joy. Mind you, this is a simple thing. Silly and a bit trivial, really. Many times, though, we’re waiting for resolution for things that aren’t that simple. Maybe they’re even life altering or life threatening. What do we do then?
IRREVOCABLE TRUTH #7: Seek His face, not an outcome. When we face challenging times, it’s so easy to put our faith in our idea of what the answer must be. We get sick, and we set our eyes on being made well. Our husband loses his job, and we put our faith in the new job that just has to be right around the corner. We receive bad news, and we put our faith in what we determine will make it better. Naturally, we set our eyes on a particular conclusion, and when it doesn’t become a reality, we question God. Or maybe we expect nothing from God so we won’t be disappointed. Perhaps we chalk everything up to His sovereignty, and we passively resign ourselves to the position of door mat. What I’m saying might be ruffling some feathers, so hear me out. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask for a particular outcome and have faith in His power to bring that about. I’m not saying we don’t claim His promises for ourselves, asking in faith and believing we will receive. I’m not saying that we deny the sovereignty of God, ever. What I am saying is that we set our focus on the only real answer, and that is God Himself. Not what He can do. Not what He can cause. Not what He can solve. He is more than able. But as Psalm 27:7-9 says, “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation” (emphasis mine). He IS the answer. He IS our great reward. He IS our salvation. Him and Him alone. And if He never does another thing for us, that is enough.
When His face is all we seek, we will always have what we need. How many times do we fall into the trap of waiting for something to meet our expectations because then we’ll be happy? As soon as I’m a comfortable size 4 again, then I’ll be happy! When my face clears up and my skin looks like that of a porcelain doll, then I’ll be satisfied. When my husband knows exactly how to make me feel better without me saying a word, then everything will be okay. When my children do what I ask the first time every time, then life will be good. When there’s always more money in the checkbook than we need at the end of the month, then we will have arrived. Don’t we all have “when…then” scenarios? In the meantime, we wait discontentedly with our unmet expectations, and we miss out on God’s face and grace in the now. When we are seeking His face and His face only, we will be in a constant state of satisfaction, and many times, we’ll find ourselves amazed that the Lord is working everything else out better than we could have asked or imagined. It really is true what Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
IRREVOCABLE TRUTH #8: When He works all things together for good, His good is to conform us to the image of Christ. Romans 8:28 has to be one of the all-time most quoted scriptures. Why wouldn’t it be? It tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” For years, my understanding (which we now know is a dangerous thing!) of good was whatever I determined was a good solution to my dilemma. Challenged with a miserable marriage, I would imagine good as the perfect marriage. Facing financial problems, I would imagine good as the absence of money issues (namely, shortages!). Facing insecurity, I would imagine good as unshakable self-confidence. Facing unpleasant tasks, I would imagine good as the absence of burdensome responsibilities. Facing issues with my body image, I would imagine good as finally attaining the perfect figure without effort or restrictions to my diet. I think you get the picture. One day, God flipped on a light in my head and the scales fell from my eyes when I read Romans 8:29, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” God’s good isn’t necessarily going to line up with my idea of good. His good is always going to be that I be more like Jesus, and just as Jesus learned obedience through suffering, so do we.
When we call on His name, He answers. It may not be the answer we desire or expect, but it will be for our good and for the advancement of His purpose and His kingdom. Are we willing for things to go wrong in our lives in order for them to go right for God?
Psalm 17:15 says, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” Lord, let that be my measure of satisfaction today and always. I seek Your face, and Your face alone, trusting that You are working everything together to conform me to the image of Christ. And that is my source of satisfaction.
Seeking His face to become more wholly His today,