God doesn’t hide. If you want to see the face of God, and you haven’t, it’s because the face of God is either not what you expected or not what you want. And that’s on you, not God.
There is – because there is always – another way.
Turning away from the face of God out of confusion or pride or arrogance is not a crime. You won’t be punished; but you will continue to experience the grief and discomfort that attends turning away from the face of God. And the anguish is very much God’s, as much as it is yours.
That’s a clue.
Still, very few of us want to gaze directly at the Lord, for the experience undoes so much of what we believed mattered about our lives. When our eyes rest on God, we realize that we have been living second-hand lives. We have been pretenders careening through meaningless dreams, crazed dogs chasing tails they will never catch, zombies mindlessly pursuing goals we neither chose nor can unchoose.
Often, on seeing this truth, we turn back. We turn away from God. Who would blame us? The hurt is intense, the shame nontrivial. How can seeing God make the life I live appear to be so much shit? This can’t be God, we tell ourselves. God would not allow my life to be such a sham.
Or – darker and deeper – we tell ourselves that if this is what it means to see God, then we’d rather live a lie. We’ll take the shit, thank you very much.
For we cannot behold God and live. This is an old and sturdy truth. We can count on it. If we see God, a death occurs. Yet the death is not an end but rather a rebirth unto eternal life. We give up what dies in favor of what can never die.
Or, better, we give up our identification with what dies in favor of what can never die.
It is the truth that sets us free. It is the truth that liberates us from the cycle of birth and death, so that we might live forever. And the truth is already given, in a form that we can readily perceive and understand. Call it God’s face and then will to gaze at it without fear or doubt or hesitation.
When we are ready to look and see, then we will look and see, and we will know the truth. We will remember God, and live in God’s Heaven forever.
If you’ve been looking, and you still can’t see, then find someone to talk to about this “still can’t see” thing. Nobody can look at God for us but there are folks who are good at helping us figure out what’s standing in the way. Are we scared? Disappointed? Clinging to illusions? A little bit of all of those? Or something else entirely?
Don’t be afraid to step off familiar trails. Don’t be frightened by teachers who have only part of the picture. Sometimes you’re there to teach them, and their “teaching” is a form of study which you gift to them. Give attention to black bears and violets, maple trees and moonlight. They have something to say about God, too.
Be not alone so you can be not afraid. The world is full of brothers and sisters who are lonely for Christ, and whose loneliness is expressed in words and forms with which you are familiar. Find them, and comfort them, and let them comfort you. Be home with them in Christ, that together you might together remember the Home you share with God.
So long as you have questions, answers will be given. Yet a day comes when the questions subside, and one rests gently in what is given, asking only how to give it away. For what you are is love, and only when you extend that love do you know that love.
And knowing that, you know that there is no longer any reason to not see God. What else could you behold but God? What else is seeing for?