The music of a gently flowing river gave ambiance to the wedding about to begin. My daughter walked gracefully down the grassy path toward the man she loved, her face radiant with joy. The beauty of her wedding finery came second to the happiness lighting her face. Later she told me how everything else faded when she began to walk towards her groom. The lovely outdoor setting, the wedding party, the people there to celebrate — she was aware of their presence but she only had eyes for the man she was about to marry. His love was the reason for her glowing countenance.
The face is a mirror of what the soul contains. If sadness has touched someone, the muscles of their face and expression in their eyes will reflect their pain. If laughter is ready to burst out, eyes sparkle and lips turn up. Some are better than others at masking what is really going on in their mind and heart, but usually some little clue in the face or body language will give them away.
Because God lives in me, I want His presence to be discernable in my face and demeanour. I can’t manufacture that; it happens when I keep my focus on Him, my heart open to what He has to say, and my spirit receptive to His love. Only then will I be one of those the psalmist describes. “Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5 NIV)
To be radiant means there is an inner light, an internal energy conveyed through facial expression. “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.” (Exodus 34:29) Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on the mountaintop in the presence of the Lord. His face radiated with this experience, so much so that he had to wear a veil over his face because the Israelites were afraid to come near him. What is interesting about this story is that Moses was not aware that his face was radiant. What mattered to him was the time he spent with the Lord, who would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. (Exodus 33:11)
An intimate relationship with God cannot help but be reflected outwardly. The more time I spend with Him, the more He permeates my life, the more of His glory will shine through without me even knowing it. And not just on my face, but radiate out from my life like the rays of the sun. I don’t want to be self-consciously checking to see if I’m showing forth God in a radiant way, I just want to be a channel for His glory to flow through me in all I do. Sometimes clouds of sin or selfishness will dim the radiance, but as long as I am seeking His face, He will shine again.
We have been given a perfect picture of God, in His son Jesus Christ. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3) Jesus Christ illuminates His Father’s glory, becoming a spotlight revealing the immutable character of God. With Christ living in me, I pray some of His beautiful radiance will shine through my life, to light the way for others.