The Look of Love

Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.
  Psalm 17:8

Most of us believe that to mark this world, we need to do something big. We need to pastor a large church, get published, or establish an orphanage in a third-world country. We are so grandiose in our sense of what counts as significant. That is not the Jesus way.

What usually happens when you smile at a friend? They smile back.

Recently I read a fascinating book about spiritual formation and neurobiology called, Renovated, by Jim Wilder. In it, he talks about how a neuroscientist named Dr. Allan Schore from UCLA defined joy relationally as “someone who is glad to be with me” and “being the sparkle in someone’s eye.”

What could that mean for us? Do I dare believe that God would look at me as if He were glad to be with me and be the sparkle in His eye? Do I dare believe that He would smile at the mere thought of me?

If I could rest in the thought of being the sparkle in God’s eye, I wonder if it would be possible to transmit that sparkle to others when I look at them. When we see them. Speak to them. Listen to them. Are fully present to them.

I believe that God wrote this truth into the Bible long before Dr. Schore discovered it. Perhaps he would have known about  “The Look” which causes joy had he gone to church all of his life and read his Bible.

God told Moses to tell his brother Aaron that the priests should say some very specific words to the people of God Numbers 6:24-26,

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Do you see those words make his face to shine upon you and lift up his countenance upon you? I believe that is the smile of God. I believe that is the look on God’s face when he looks at me and you. Moses knew that the people of God needed a steady reminder of what God felt about them. That is also the reason I say it every Sunday at the close of our worship at my church.

What if those of us who have a covenant relationship with Jesus could be used by God as a conduit of his smile? What if God wants us to use our eyes and our smile to send the message to everyone made in the image of God that they matter to him? What if we started passing on Aaron’s blessing with our countenance and our actions in our everyday life?

When we really absorb Jesus into our core, we will be people who are marked by humility and hospitality. I’ve had more than a few saints you will never meet that have impacted my life because of their giving lifestyle. One of those men died seven days ago in my little town. He was on the search committee that brought me to my current church and a deacon in our church. His passing has left a huge hole in my heart.

But let me tell you about another deacon that changed the entire trajectory of my life some forty-six years ago.

When I moved out of my parent’s house and into my first apartment, I was assigned to his deacon family. He took that seriously. He was a strange and wonderful man. The term “geek” was not used back in the mid-seventies, but if it had it would be how I would have described my deacon. He had a pock-marked face and a bulbous nose. He was a large overweight man with narrow and sloping shoulders. When he smiled, which he did a lot, he had a gap between his front teeth.

In those days, I was in my rebellion. The only reason I attended church was that my mother said I could come to the house for Sunday dinner if I came to church. And every week it seemed she made a pot roast, rolls, and peach cobbler.

My deacon knew I was troubled. He would write me notes and tell me he prayed for me. He would seek me out when I came to church. He found out that I loved sports, so he took me to Denver Nuggets and Denver Broncos games—many times. That cost him time and money to do that. All the while I lived a prodigal life. I was living in complete defiance of Jesus. But my deacon didn’t give up on me. He kept praying and showing up in my life in any way he could think of.

Finally, through a series of God-ordained circumstances, in 1978 I rededicated my life to Jesus. Back in those days, that was a big deal. My dad always offered an altar call in the church he pastored and so I walked forward to make my decision public. The first person to grab me and hug me that Sunday was my deacon.

You will never meet him. I don’t even know if he is still alive. But that goofy, geeky, awkward deacon marked my life. He showed me the smile of God. He was the smile of God.

His name was Clinton Spearman. We named our second son Clinton.

Our culture, country, and town will be changed not through legislation, rules, and winning the culture wars. Up there will not come down here by returning to the values and lifestyles of the 40s and 50s. The Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven when we see people the way God sees them. I mean show up and really look at them.

That is the look of love.

About Joe Chambers

I am the beloved of the Most High God. I am an avid reader and writer and have been a continuous learner since my college studies in Ancient Literature and English. I live at the base of Mount Princeton in the Colorado Rockies with my wife of over three decades. I believe I have been put here to tell people that God is not mad at them and to show them the way Home. I am the father of three sons, three beautiful daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. I love to read, tell stories, and spend time in the wilderness.
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