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My desire to see God

by Les Thompson

As a special tribute, we are including a song by Les Thompson
from his album
Latin American Melodies.
In it, he reminds us about the joy of salvation and living plentiful lives
for our Lord Jesus Christ. We hope you enjoy
our founding president’s tender voice.

Jesus, oh Jesus, what a wonder you are

Dr. Les Thompson singing while accompanied by son, Dan, playing the trumpet

Since I was a child, I have wanted to see God. Now, as a pastor, this desire has simply intensified. I remember when I saw a copy of the famous fresco by Michelangelo for the first time, painted in the Vatican Chapel (1508-11), illustrating the history of the creation to the flood. I was in the 9th grade, there in Cuba, and we were studying a part of history that showed us great paintings from the past. The book also had the well-known picture of God when he created Adam. What interested me most was trying to see His face (what I had always wanted to see).

Now, I come from a home where my father was very strict with biblical truth. How many times during our family devotions we discussed the second commandment: You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments (Exodus 20:5-6).

There, in front of me, I had a representation of God. I didn’t know if I should study it or turn the page and keep reading. But my curiosity got the best of me and I was taken up with the picture.

I understood that God is Spirit, and I was aware that the painting could not possibly be a literal picture of God. I knew that He had no body. I concluded immediately that Michelangelo also knew the second commandment. His painting was not an attempt to create an idol, but a piece of art, to make the world know the greatness of God in His creation.

What did Michelangelo know to paint that particular face —the intensity of the eyes, the look that seemed perfect, the clear energy he must have had to complete this work. And the angels that were painted— his sincere interest in what God had made, getting some to help him get this masterpiece done.

I closed the book with the greatest satisfaction: His marvelous finger had touched mine. This God of the heavens made me. While the painting itself was not God, nevertheless I knew it was God who made me.

God is my Father, but what is He like? He is my King, but what would it be like to see the glory that is around his celestial throne! I am sure that many others have the same questions. What does the Bible say about this?

Remember Philip? He, too, wanted to see the Father: Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8).

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” (John 14:9-10).

The great blessing of living in these New Testament times is that we do not have to climb Mt. Sinai nor go up to the third heaven to see God. He reveals himself in all his greatness and perfection through Jesus Christ, as is told in the gospels.

Does anyone want to see the Father? The Bible tells us: Look at Jesus! Study Jesus! Fill yourself with Jesus! Satisfy yourself with Jesus. The Father reveals himself in Jesus with all his virtue, eloquence and detail. Go seek Jesus, as Philip did. Carefully look for the images given by Jesus of His Father. You’ll see a painting much more beautiful and meaningful than anything Michelangelo ever painted.

Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkling veil between,
But a blessed day is coming
When His glory shall be seen.

Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory
I shall see Him by and by.

Carrie E. Brock; based on 1 Corinthian 13:12