Somewhere along the line you’d think I’d get used to being overwhelmed by God, but so far it hasn’t happened. I am continually floored by His grace and His perfect patience in dealing with me.
I was recently overwhelmed after having heard from God about me stepping up my level of leadership in His Church, not a particular church, but the Church with a capital C. As I tried to sort out this felt urge to move forward in a more bold way for His Kingdom, I began to see a pattern of God speaking to me. This, of course, has never been in an audible voice. It’s more like a statement or a whisper in my spirit, giving me direction.
Author Margaret Feinberg calls these promptings from God, sacred echoes. She defines a sacred echo, in her book of the same name, as “those moments when God speaks the same message to my heart again and again.”
The latest message God is repeating to me is, “Show your face.” This seemed to be confirmed as I was reading Isaiah 50:4-9. This portion of Scripture has always been one of my favorites, and I felt God urging me to take it to heart several years ago. Verse four reads,
The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
This was, and is, bold...for me. Believing the God of the Universe has called me to know His Word and proclaim it is overwhelming in itself, but I came to reluctantly accept the call. Well, sort of. Verse five did give me some pause. It reads,
The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.
God did indeed open my ears. The problem was I had been rebellious and I did draw back. Somehow, I found it too much to really believe, that I could actually have been called by God to use writing and other media to share His truths. Despite my perceived inadequacies, God continued to press upon me, over and over again, that I am to follow through. So, recently God brings me back to Isaiah 50. This time, He focused me toward the verses that are prophecies of Jesus, particularly the use of the word, “face.” Verse six says,
I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. (Emphasis mine.)
Years ago, as well as recently, I told God these verses could no way, not even spiritually, be applied to me today. How dare I compare myself to Jesus. It was almost blasphemy to think about it. Yet God persisted in pressing me with, “Show your face.” I continued to push against this crazy idea, but would still go back and reread the passage. I noticed verse seven uses the word face, also. It says, in part,
I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (Emphasis mine.)
Verse eight also contains the word face. It says,
He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! (Emphasis mine.)
I wondered if I could be reading this right. Why am I to show my face? Why I am to think of Jesus when I do? Then, God brought to mind Hebrews 12:3:
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful man, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
It then started to sink in...The “him” in the above verse is Jesus, of course, and God did want me to consider Him. As crazy as that first sounded to me, I began to see that if Jesus was willing to go all out for me, to go through an agonizing death on a cross, I could certainly go all out in my world of comfort and ease. God simply reminded me to think of Jesus and His courage so that I could be courageous.
For me, that is showing my face. I prefer to hide in my own little world and write. I’m a lot like Saul before he was made the first King of Israel. When God sent Samuel to set Saul up as king, Saul could not be found. So the people asked God if Saul was there. And God said,
“Yes, he has hidden himself in the baggage.” (1 Samuel 10:22)
That is exactly what I have been doing, hiding in my baggage. But apparently God prefers that I step out and step up to the plate. I believe God wants me to “show my face” not so much as to literally make my face known, but as an exercise to move beyond my human limitations, to live in the freedom of relying on Him, and in turn, make His face known.
God wants me to be all in for Him. I simply praise Him for the opportunity. It’s like a dream, a dream I am somewhat nervous about, but still a dream. One that is coming true.
Do you need to “show your face” in some area? What are you hiding from? What’s holding you back?