Seeing God's Face

I was in the Galapagos Islands 2 weeks ago with a team from the Franciscan Missions. Now, the Galapagos Islands have a few main islands, and the usual way to get from one to the other is by boat. So, one day the man who was leading our little group says, “We are getting on the boat.”

We get to the dock and we pile in. About 15 people get into the boat, so that’s it’s pretty much full. That’s fine, I’m thinking. But then I get the news. “It’s about a 3 hour trip.” OK, a little long at sea. And so we’re pulling out of the harbor, I’m sitting on the right side of the boat facing the left side and enjoying a bright and sunny, beautiful view of the ocean and the sky.

And then, all of a sudden, the crew decides that something’s wrong. They take out this large tarp and begin to fasten it to the boat. First the whole left side of the boat is buttoned up. Then the back. Wait a minute, I thought. I have no more view. No more sun. But more importantly, no more clouds or sky or horizon.

No more stability to fix my point of reference for the 3 hour boat ride. On the choppy high Pacific seas. Going 50 mph.

So here we are, getting all banged up in the boat, people teetering, and I’m wondering, what am I going to do? But it was then that I looked at the bishop.

Yes, sitting right across from me was the bishop of the Galapagos Islands. He had the best view of anyone, right out the only open side of the boat. I looked at his face, and I knew what he was looking at.

I could see the clouds. I could see the sky and the horizon. I could see stability and peace and strength.

The bishop’s face became my point of reference. Every time I looked at his face, all my motion sickness melted away. When I saw the bishop, I saw the clouds and the horizon – I didn’t need to see them directly. He had them inside of him. He had their stability and peace and strength.

Boy, I needed the bishop. I am so glad he was fixed on the horizon. I made it because of him.

Philip says to the Lord, “Lord, show us the Father and we shall be satisfied.” Now, it’s here that the Lord gets exasperated. How can you miss the whole point, Philip? Philip, you are in the storm of life and you can’t see God. That’s the whole reason that I’ve come. It’s because you’re tossed around in life and you have no view of God. God can’t be your point of reference.

But if you looked at My Face, you would know what I was looking at. You would see God. You would see that stability and peacefulness and strength.

If Philip made Jesus his point of reference, all his anxieties from the storm of life would melt away. When He saw Jesus, he would see God, he wouldn’t need to see Him directly. Because Jesus has His Father inside of Him. He has His stability and peace and strength.

“He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” (Jn 14:9-11)

Our life is mostly like the boat going 50 mph on the choppy seas with the buttoned up tarp. It’s a tough ride, and there’s no stable point of reference, no direct view of God. Now, a lot of people say that they have God, and God this and God that, but no one has any direct view of God. That’s why He’s given us His Son.

Jesus is in the boat with us, and there’s one reason that He’s there. It’s to be our point of reference. If we make Him our point of reference in life, all our anxieties from the storm of life will melt away. Why?

Because when we see Him, when we look at that Face, we see God.

We get His stability and peace and strength.

And we’ll make it to the end of the ride because of Him.

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