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     Psalm 27:7-14:  ("NRSV")  7  Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!  8 "Come," my heart says, "seek His face!"  Your face, LORD, do I seek.  9 Do not hide Your face from me.

     Do not turn Your servant away in anger, You who have been my help.  Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!  10 If my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me up.

     11  Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.  12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.

     13  I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
     I have at leasst one child whom I can usually discipline with merely a frown.  She knows me so well and cares so much that if a wrinkle appears on my brow, her tears begin.  So sensitive to my delight or displeasure is this child, that I must be careful to visibly express my joy as well as my grief.  I am reminded of the psalmist's prayer:  "Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud . . . Your face, LORD, do I seek.  Do not hide Your face from me."

     My daughter's love for me puts me to shame when compared with my love for the Lord.  He rarely hides His face from us, yet until very recently I had a highly-developed escapte pattern, turning away whenever I sensed that the Lord was about to get a furrowed brow because of me.  I have hidden my face from Him.

     Averting the eyes because I am not worthy to look upon the face of God and this is one kind of response.  But to run away internally or, worse, to cease praying for a period of time because I only want to see the Lord smiling at me is self-centered.  The only corrective is to look upon the bloody, agonized face of Christ crucified and accept in those eyes of pain neither disgust nor approval, but only salvation and love beyond comprehension.

     To focus on the face of the Lord may mean that we need to bear His reproof, but even more it means we can see what delights Him.  We can begin to understand and enter into a whole new way of being which seeks only to please the beloved of our souls.

     C.S. Lewis has put it this way:  "In the end, that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe, must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised" (
The Weight of Glory).  Said that way, I would rather face Him now while there is still time to change.

Written by Dorothy Ranaghan