I rarely get into long conversations via phone. Since I live many states away from most of my family, I’m sure this drives them nuts. Part of my hang up with phone conversations is how only hearing someone’s voice hinders our ability to communicate. It can be hard to focus on the person we’re speaking with when they are not physically in front of us. We lose out on seeing facial expressions and body language – both of which are significant contributors to how we communicate with each other. It’s just not the same as face to face.
Prayer can sometimes feel similar, like an incomplete discussion or like we are have a one-way, long-distance conversation. How much better would it be to sit on the couch and talk with Jesus than to sit on the couch and pray to Jesus?
In John’s final descriptions of the New Jerusalem, he tells us that
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever.
There are some special privileges listed here for those servants. The first one to note is in verse 4 – They will see his face.
There were many key people that God partnered with in the ages, many who shared a close friendship with God and did great things for him. One of God’s most intimate friendships was with a man named Moses. God and Moses met together on numerous occasions, and God’s presence was constantly manifested with the nation of Israel during Moses’ leadership. If you were looking to identify which individual in history has had the most direct interaction with God, it would be very difficult to argue against Moses being that guy.
On one occasion, Moses reverently asked God “Please, let me see Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18). Check out God’s response:
He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you…” But He added, “You cannot see My face, for humans cannot see Me and live…you will see My back, but My face will not be seen.”
Although he was thisclose with God, Moses was unable to see God’s face.
Many years later, Paul – who had his own direct encounter with the glorified, risen Christ – wrote this to the believers in Corinth:
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
How different is it talking to someone on speakerphone verses calling them on Skype? How much more intimate is it to speak with someone face to face, rather than talking with them from separate rooms? Seeing God’s face is a new level of intimacy with God that will be available in the New Jerusalem.
And that is something to look forward to.