The faces of my four grandsons bring delight to my life. My most treasured memories are their infant faces recognizing me for the very first time. Their faces expressed their joy as their bodies wriggled and squirmed their “hellos.” Those memories are indescribable. When they first see me now, a few years later, their faces brighten, and their countenance communicates how excited they are. They run to me and hug my knees.
I am not so naive to think my grandsons want nothing from me. Their excitement is often followed with a request. They ask for cookies and reprimand me for not baking their favorite ginger cookies. Other requests center around reading books or playing with toys or games. Yes, they want to spend time with me, but they also want me to do something for them. This is normal for four little boys between the ages of 3 – 6 years.
God has shown me many times that He wants me to seek His face. But instead, I often seek His hands and what He can do for me. I must confess I find it difficult to quiet my heart long enough for Him to truly speak and for me to hear what He says.
I envy how others describe how they are “still before the Lord and know He is God” (Psalm 46:10a). My normal routine involves lots of background noise, whether it is music, the radio, or a baseball game. That is too much noise for me to hear His whisper. Over many years, I have learned to stop, pause, and truly listen to what He wants to say to me. Often, He just wants me to enjoy Him.
How I’ve learned to seek God’s face
When I know God is attempting to get my attention, these are ways I pause and listen to Him:
1. First, I listen to music or play my favorite songs on the piano. Music helps me focus my attention on Him. In 1 Chronicles 16:4-6, David appointed some Levites as ministers before the ark when he brought the ark to Jerusalem. Their tasks included thanking and praising God, including celebrating using musical instruments.
Being still and quiet with God is hard work! If I start with quiet, I soon give up since my distracted mind is racing. For me, celebrating with music enables me to focus my swirling, noisy thoughts on Him.
2. Second, I review my favorite Bible verses. Psalm 34:4 – 5 say: “I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.” I pray my face appears radiant to Him.
Focusing on verses that have special meaning to me reminds me He is always present. God brings back memories of how He sought me and answered me. My mind is now directed toward Him and what He has done. Other verses I review include Psalm 27:8, “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.’” And, Psalm 105:4 reminds me, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.”
You see, I am not so different from my grandsons. I, too, often seek His hands and what He can do for me or those I love. However, focusing on scripture helps me seek His face.
3. Finally, I seek His face by reviewing God’s names and attributes. As I meditate on these, He reminds me He is God – God of the universe. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Creator. He is Alpha and Omega. He is sovereign, merciful, full of lovingkindness, etc.
“I sought the Lord and He answered me” (Psalm 34:4). My swirling, noisy thoughts are calmer now, but it’s still a battle to stay quiet before Him. It often remains difficult to simply enjoy Him and His presence.
Still learning to be with Him
One of my grandsons asked if he could come to my house to play with Legos and make a space station. He knows I have his father’s Legos in a closet. At first, I said “no,” since the afternoon was already full of preparations for my husband to travel overseas. But I saw the disappointment on his face and relented.
We built the space station together. Then, I mistakenly thought I could let him play while I did other chores. He followed me and asked me to come and sit with him. I paused and decided to do so, still reviewing in my mind all I must accomplish. We spent a long time playing with rockets and space rovers. He asked an endless number of questions. Finally, he looked at me and said, “Grandma, we spent quality time together today!” Yes, we had . . . and I almost missed it.
Lord, teach me to calm my spirit and enjoy moments like these each day where I can look on Your face and say, “Lord, You invited me to seek Your face today and I do not want to miss it.” I want to be able to say to Him, “We spent quality time together.”
By Janice Kennedy