I wanted to see him so much. I couldn’t remember when I’d seen him last. To be honest, I literally didn’t remember seeing him before at all. But I knew I had. The name “grandpa” belonged to someone very special. I knew that.
Our family had traveled hundreds miles – for what seemed like a thousand years to a little boy – to finally arrive at grandpa and grandma’s house. I was so excited! But when we arrived, grandpa was taking his nap – asleep in the sunroom! I tiptoed in and waited. Waited for him to wake up. And then finally, after minutes that seemed like hours, he did. And I saw his face, and felt a happiness I’ve seldom ever felt since. Even now, so many decades later, after memories of him have faded and seeped through my conscious mind into a golden haze, and although I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, few meetings can compare with the first time I remember seeing him face to face.
The way the Bible describes it, the day we meet our Lord in heaven may be something like that. It will be the culmination of a lifetime of anticipation and longing, and then…unspeakable joy in one eternal moment in which the Scripture simply says, “They shall see His face” (Revelation 22:4).
The one quality possessed by all those who will experience that eternal moment is purity. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And in 1 John 3:3, after promising that “we shall see Him as He is,” the apostle John says, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Hebrews 12:14 instructs us to pursue “holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
My desire to see the Lord is more than just a lovely thought or a wishful fantasy. It is an all-consuming hope. It is a deep desire, a burning passion that empowers the pursuit of purity and holiness. And, most importantly, it accepts the unvarnished reality that the only means of obtaining the necessary purity is through obedience to God’s truth (cf. 1 Peter 1:22).
May our lives be lived in that daily pursuit of purity, so that one day we may see Him face to face.
Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me?
Face to face! O blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so
Face to face I shall behold Him, Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by!
(Hymn Lyrics by Carrie E. Breck)
– Steve Klein