"beholding your likeness"

“When I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.”

When the boy is waking up, he’s often confused and a little scared at first. What seems to calm him down right away is seeing Heather’s face, or mine. We usually get a smile right away. I thought of that when I read this line in Psalm 17.

I’ve had a hard time waking up lately too. A feeling of futility makes it hard to get out of bed and face the day. Maybe it’s partly this cold, hard winter that has seemed endless. And partly frustrations and lack of progress in much of my efforts and the efforts of people around me. So I’m encouraged by the idea of looking elsewhere, finding satisfaction elsewhere.

I remember putting together a meditation years ago based on the story of Jesus inviting Peter to walk with him on the water. Central to the story is Jesus telling Peter to focus on him, rather than the wind and waves, the hopeless situation all around. When Peter kept his eyes on Jesus’ face, he could take a step forward.

In the New Jerusalem Bible, that line in the psalm reads, “when I awake I shall be filled with the vision of you.” I like that even better. It’s not just a matter of being comforted, but also of being filled, changed. The other part of my meditation came from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another.”

I do think it’s important to feel the futility of our efforts from time to time, feel how small we are in the darkness. It helps us look away from ourselves (and our little communities) to seek out the only face that can satisfy us.