A seasoned pastor recently told me about a turning point in his life. Someone had challenged him to imagine God was looking at him, so the pastor did his best to place himself mentally in that situation. Then a powerful question followed: “What does God’s face look like?”
As the pastor shared how he answered that question, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would respond. Does God’s face appear judgmental, indifferent, angry, impatient… or is He looking at me with love? That image tells me a lot about my relationship with God.
When I am walking through seasons of pain or confusion, I am tempted to believe that God is displeased with me. My circumstances can cloud my ability to see the heart of God clearly. But contrary to the way I might feel in the moment, God is not overwhelmed by my pain. He wants to meet me in the middle of my sorrow and comfort me.
Isaiah brings a related message to the people of Israel in Isaiah 40:1-5. Even though the people were experiencing hurt and disorientation, God’s desire was to bring them healing and direction.
Now think about all the ways that Jesus models the heart of the Father for us. I love the description of Jesus in Matthew 9:36. It says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus’ response to people in difficult circumstances is not to shun us, but to have compassion on us.
Similarly, the invitation of Jesus in Matthew 11:28 is refreshing to all of us who are feeling burned out or overwhelmed during this season. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28
If you are hurting, in distress, confused, or directionless, God wants to bring you comfort. And the beautiful part about receiving the comfort of God is that we can extend that same comfort to those around us. As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
God, you are the source of deepest comfort I can find in my life. I admit that I run to many other places to receive the comfort and direction that only You can give me. I confess my need for You, and I choose to depend on You today.
How do you think God is looking at you today? What is the expression on His face? Spend a few moments thinking about those questions and then re-read Matthew 9:36 and Matthew 11:28. Ask God to reveal His true heart for you.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash