We Should Seek God’s Face as Opposed to His Hand? Really?

Have you heard that we should seek God’s face and not His hand? This means we ought to want Him for who He is and not what He can do for us. It sounds pretty spiritual on the surface. If I find myself only talking to God about personal concerns and not praying for anyone else, this would be a good reminder. But, I think this can be taken to an extreme. I’ve been thinking about seeking God for who He is as opposed to what He does for us, and my conclusion is that it’s not an either/or situation.

What if David and the other Psalmists thought it wasn’t good to ask God for temporal needs to be met? I think we wouldn’t have very many Psalms. The Psalms are quite a mixture of praise for who God is, as well as the things He’s done. There are also many cries for His help, and sometimes those are pretty desperate cries, wanting immediate help.

Another thing I thought about is the Lord’s Prayer. Like the Psalms, this pryaer is also a mixture of praise for who God is, as well as asking for our needs to be met. Since this prayer is the answer Jesus gave to the question of how we should pray, we are actually being instructed to go to God for our needs. And repeatedly, too. “Give us this day our daily bread” is surely a daily prayer which sometimes will include needs such as physical healing, a job, wanting a mate or a baby, or problems with a relationship. To ask God for the things we need, or even just want, acknowledges that He is our source for everything we have.

Joni Earekson Tada has found the balance, I think. I read her book, A Place of Healing, and also read an interview with her in Table Talk magazine (October 2011 issue). She has learned to enjoy “the Lord being…the Lord.” She also realizes that it’s not our natural state to seek God and He uses painful and difficult circumstances to draw us close to Him. We shouldn’t hold back because we have a need that is overwhelming everything else at the moment. God puts these things in our lives for His purposes and we need to go to Him when we have a need.

When we think of who we are and who God is, this isn’t like two friends on equal footing. You know how it is when you realize someone is only hanging out with you because of what you can do for them? If we go to God only when we need something and totally neglect Him otherwise, I think we haven’t realized who we are and who He is. I think the idea is that a Christian ought to be at God’s disposal, praising Him for who He is, praying for His will to be done, being willing to do His will. And we need to realize that we are dependent creatures.

I see this as a ‘both’ situation. I need God for who He is, but I also need to ask for daily needs to be met, and usually, if not always, that’s even more than once a day.

Review of The Organized Heart: a woman’s guide to conquering chaos

God has appointed all my tasks – my work is planned by Him from the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 2: 9-10) Do all that I do with enthusiasm and purpose because I’m doing it for God. (Colossians 3:23) These are things that I remind myself of often, and that Staci Eastin also thinks of when she goes about daily life. In The Organized Heart she uses her 103 pages well, to with humility and grace, skip the fluff and hone in on why we do what we do. Motives are examined (I can hear you now – I just want to have order so I can think!) and dealt with so we can live our lives with peace in our hearts and heads. (You will be able to think.) From putting things off, to doing something else we’d rather do, to working our fingers to the bone to maintain a ‘perfect’ home, this book has something to say.

Most books on home and life organization are all about the tools we need to get the job done. Staci starts with the heart of the matter, which is our motives. In four chapters, she deals with Perfectionism, Busyness, Possessions and Leisure. Each chapter ends with “Explore” questions to help us see where our hold ups are and what to do about them. After dealing with heart issues she discusses the tools we need – calendars, lists and such. I think the difference is when we deal with our motives first, we use the tools rather than being slaves to them.

If you need a little extra kindness Staci Eastin has that, too. She addresses single moms and those who have health issues. She writes with wisdom about the different seasons in our lives and the fact that our personalities are not all the same. I appreciated her tenderness for those who are discouraged and feel hopeless. This is a book that I will refer back to many times. It is written by a wise woman who knows how to shine light where it needs to be shone in order to help us face ourselves, but who also applies God’s abundant grace to help us heal. I’d rather read this book than any of the other home organization books I’ve read over the years.