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Seek His Face; Intimacy and Invitation through Art and Scripture

I recently embarked on a trip to seek a deeper intimacy with God. Inspired by a podcast where Steffany Gretzinger was a guest, I decided to sit quietly with my Bible, inviting the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to me. I wondered, am I seeking just an emotional experience? Perhaps, but I know there's more to encountering God than just studying. Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:37-40, ”And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his Word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” 

I longed for an Emmaus road experience, a profound encounter with God that would set my heart to ”burn within me” as I traveled.

So, there I was, searching for a Bible upstairs. I was doing this because in the podcast, Stephanie encouraged us to jettison technology or even a set of music we listen to. She shared that we must enter the Holy space on our own, not on what works for others. We need to ”take and eat” for ourselves each day, Jesus being the manna for that day, not yesterday, not tomorrow, not someone else’s manna…but our own manna from heaven for this day. 

As I opened the Bible, Psalm 27 seemed to call out. I dove into the Word, starting with verses about protection. 

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?

 The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

    of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked advance against me

    to devour me,

 it is my enemies and my foes

    who will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,

    my heart will not fear;

 though war break out against me,

    even then I will be confident.

4 One thing I ask from the Lord,

    this only do I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

    all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

    and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble

    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;

 he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent

    and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted

    above the enemies who surround me;

 at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;

    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

The psalm spoke of battles, foes, and being lifted from the fray onto a rock, a fortress. This perspective shift – a view that is precisely above the heads of my enemies – brought a new thought. Suddenly, it wasn't about the noise of war or surviving attack, but God's lifting and all-encompassing presence taking center focus. A quieting sense that allowed for the recognition of God's delighting presence filled my heart.

Then, verse 4 struck me deeply: "One thing I ask, this only do I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." My heart resonated with these words. To dwell in God's house meant to be part of His family, to share in the abundance, security, and joy His presence, his house, offers. It felt like shedding a coat of self-protection and pretense, embracing the true protection found in being a child of God, a dweller in His house. There is intimacy when you are in the house of the Father. There is a being known that is beyond anything you could encounter here. 

But the real revelation came as I contemplated the beauty of the Lord. In this phase of my career and life, I feel invited to seek beauty – His beauty. Then it dawned on me: we are His temple, He dwells within us. What a mystery! Seeking God's nature in ourselves and others became my new pursuit, recognizing His beauty in us all. We get to ”seek him in his temple” by calling forth the beauty of God we see in one another…His collective temple.

Moving on, I savored these words:

7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;

    be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”

    Your face, Lord, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,

    do not turn your servant away in anger;

    you have been my helper.

Do not reject me or forsake me,

    God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,

    the Lord will receive me.

I then focused on Psalm 27:8, "Your face, Lord, I will seek." This verse encapsulated my artistic inspiration from the day before. Following Stephanie's advice, I sat sans technology with the Bible, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me. This analog approach slowed me down, aligning my thoughts with God's Word. The experience of simply turning pages became a journey of revelation, from one divine insight to another.

Stopping, settling, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work was transformative. It lifted me from daily battles and concerns, giving me a fresh perspective and enlivening me for the day's tasks. It's a profound reminder that seeking God's face elevates us above our daily struggles. In His presence, we find a reciprocal relationship of love and understanding, like a child loved by a father.

This journey with Jesus brought a grounding yet earth-shaking thought: only in Jesus can an earthquake lead to ultimate stability. Such is the paradox of finding peace and stability in the midst of life's wars, struggles, and tremors. In seeking His face and longing to dwell in His temple, we find ourselves elevated above life's turmoil, experiencing His love in a transformative and deeply grounding way.

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