Researchers say a baby’s sight is the last sense to develop. However, even before they can focus, newborns look toward faces. Studies show that infants also begin to read faces when they are very young. They feel positive vibes from a smile and smile back. If a mother frequently smiles and interacts with her newborn, the infant smiles in anticipation as soon as she enters the room.
Likewise, babies recognize when a face shows displeasure or disgust. If Mom is pre-occupied or angry and doesn’t return the smile, the baby’s smile will fade, the eyes look perplexed, and the face becomes blank. A baby learns to take cues from others in the room, especially its mother.
If infants don’t receive positive interaction during early development, they are stunted in personal interactions. As older children, they show little emotion in response to others. In some countries, orphans sit alone in cribs and get little positive contact with adults. As a result, they are severely underdeveloped emotionally. Even physical growth is stunted. Face-to-face interaction is necessary for healthy development.
As adults, we continue to watch faces. We subconsciously observe how people respond. We can tell if our audience is pleased, amused, delighted, or displeased. We see it in their faces—and we adjust. We quickly embellish our story for greater response, add more detail to support our view, or we end the conversation quickly. We take our cues from faces around us.
Maybe we’re created that way so we will properly relate to God.
Speaking to God, David said,
“As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.” “When Thou didst say, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to Thee, ‘Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek’” (Ps. 17:15, Ps. 27:8 emphasis added).
David was satisfied with God’s face, and is the only person in the Bible that repeatedly talked about God’s face. Likewise, David is the only one we’re told was a man after God’s heart. Do you think that David could have gained a heart after God’s heart because he was practiced in looking into the face of God? Could it be that David got his cues from God rather than from those around him?
In Psalm 11:4, David said,
“[God’s] eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.”
The Lord is watching and waiting for us to look into His face. As a loving mother looks at her baby, the Lord’s eyes are on us, waiting for us to look at Him and return His smile. The Psalm closes with,
“For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face” (Psalm 11:7, emphasis added).
It is natural for the righteous to look into the face of the One that loves him (or her) the most. “The upright will behold His face.”
If, like a baby, we look into God’s face for cues, He will lead us with His eyes. As we allow His eyes to guide us, our lives will reflect His righteousness. As a baby responds to loving parents, we will delight in His pleasure.
The problem is that sometimes we’re too busy to gaze into His eyes. We’re also distracted by gauging what our friends think of us. Survey results indicate that the church today doesn’t look much different from society. It makes me wonder where we are looking to get our cues. It doesn’t seem we’re looking to God enough.
If we don’t seek the face of God, we’ll we be like babies, trapped in a crib, stunted in our spiritual growth. We won’t reflect our God to the world. I don’t want to be stunted. I want to reflect the righteousness of God to those around me.
Lord, help me turn my eyes to Jesus and to gaze into His eyes. I join David in His cry,
“Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; Save me in Thy lovingkindness “Do not hide Thy face from Thy servant, for I am in distress; answer me quickly. Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it” (Ps. 69:17-18a; Ps. 31:16).