The Beaming Face of Love
I love how the Message, by Eugene Peterson, translates Numbers 6:25-26: “God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper.” As the NET translation notes, “The picture is of divine favor – the beaming face of a parent for his beloved.” We were made for this kind of “beaming face” interaction with one another, most especially with spouses and children.
Neuroscientist Dan Siegel observes that “The motivational drive to seek proximity to a caregiver and attain face-to-face communication with eye gaze contact is hard-wired into the typical brain from birth.” That is, God made us for “beaming face” connection!
The beaming face of love communicates delight in the beloved, a deeply felt sense that can say, without having to use words, “I’m so glad to see you!” As with other metaphors in Scripture, God uses an aspect of our creatureliness to help us understand his love for us. Or perhaps our capacity for this “beaming face” delight in fellow humans is a creaturely sign of the inner divine delight among the persons of the Trinity: “and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
When we walk into the lives of those who are hurting, we bring healing when we image and reflect God’s delight. Joy enters the darkness when the sufferer sees in our face, our eyes, our smile, that there’s nowhere else we’d rather be than right here, with her, in all of the sorrow.