There is a painting hanging on the wall in our living room. Written in very large bold black letters is the phrase “face to face” (cara a cara). The words describe an image depicted in the painting of a father holding his little girl high in the air, looking eye to eye. I will forever remember sitting in the congregation while this talented young artist made her way to the stage during a worship song. As they sang, she painted this beautiful picture on the canvas that now adorns our home. It is quite a conversation piece.
Needless to say, this is my favorite spot in the house. It is the place I run to at different times of the day for many reasons. In this little corner, while staring at the canvas, I tend to find peace; it’s a safe haven. In many occasions I have sat on my chair, with my cup of hot tea, to do my devotionals and to talk with God about me. Do you get the picture?
Recently, during a “hard” morning I desperately needed to be cara a cara with God and made my way to the chair. As part of my routine I asked God the typical question, “What do you want me to do?” What happened that morning was not the norm. I could almost hear myself speak out loud what I said to God in silence. In a very strange manner I was fully aware of how self-centered I was behaving and was embarrassed by the depth of my self-interest. I was the focus of the conversation with God and I sought to put in place a solution that I thought was the best; as if the whole world revolved around me.
Perhaps, your spiritual maturity has reached a level where “me” is not a recurring issue. God is still at work in this area of my life because I tend to get in the way. I am naturally a problem solver quick to rise to the rescue. (You can see how my savior mentality could potentially get me into trouble in the midst of a hard day.) On this particular day God saved me from me! It sounds strange but oh so true! Ephesians 2:1-10 is one of the passages I was led to read:
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
This is such a rich passage with much to glean from these few verses. When I initially read them I sensed God speaking to my heart and saying: Look at me little one. Jesus is seated here. Come up and sit on His lap, right here next to your Father and watch us do with the Spirit what we are going to do in your life. Remember it’s about my plan not yours so don’t try and tell us what to do. I will call on you and involve you as part of my ultimate plan. God had my full attention and those words gripped my heart. I was present, face to face in a very real way.
I am immediately captured by these action verses, which state that God made us alive, raised us up and seated us with Christ. These verses serve as a reminder that I am alive, both physically and spiritually because God has breathed the breath of life. I owe Him my life! The natural tendency to solve problems is really a gift given by God to be used for His glory. It doesn’t belong to me and I have no right assuming it is mine to do as I please. When I do my strength becomes my weakness. This is an ongoing struggle to which I must continually die to self and be raised up in Christ. These verses also remind me I really do not want to be in control. When I’m in control I am anxious and I easily stress. Instead I can choose to sit next to the Father and yield the control to Him who has the Ultimate Plan and know it will succeed according to His purpose.
There is nothing wrong with the question I initially asked God while sitting in my favorite room but the emphasis was on the wrong person. I did get an answer, one that continues to shape my life. God led me to understand it had nothing to do with what I thought I could do but everything with what He intended to do; if I would remove myself long enough for Him to be God, that is. Well that hard situation is resolved and a few others have surfaced since then and I continue to be a work in progress but with a clearer awareness I did not have before. I do not have it figured out but as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood” (RSV).
If you get close to the painting on our wall you will see displayed alongside of a 5×7 photo of my husband Dan and our little girl Adriana, who was a little over 2 years old. About four years ago the young artist asked Dan to pick Adriana up in the air while he looked into her eyes so that father and daughter were face to face. We had no idea she would use this photo to illustrate through the arts the Fathers desire to be cara a cara with His child. So I am wondering when is the last time you were face to face, cara a cara with Jesus? I hope you know He longs to hold you up high and seat you next to Jesus in heavenly places where all you have to do is let God be God.