Another guest contribution from my brother, Wesley Andrew Macy, Estes Brook Evangelical Free Church, Minnesota; September, 2011 Newsletter
While we appreciate the telephone, Facebook, text messaging, etc., nothing takes the place of “face to face.” I keep in touch with family by phone and email throughout the year, but being in Kansas this past August for the bi-annual Macy family reunion, it was so much better to see them “face to face”.
In the fall of 1973, I was a college sophomore, living in Kansas. My brother was in seminary in Illinois. I missed him and wanted to see him. I took Amtrak from Wichita to Chicago to visit Tom and his wife, Linda. Arriving at Union Station in Chicago, I took the commuter train to the northern suburbs. Somehow I managed to get off at the right stop, Lake Forest –just a wide spot in the road with a simple shelter and a long sidewalk. Tom wasn’t there. Everybody else walked purposefully from the train to their cars. But I had no car. I was alone, didn’t know where I was, feeling unsettled and insecure. As the train pulled away, I looked across the track and standing there directly opposite me was my brother. I saw him “face to face”. A big smile spread across both our faces as I crossed the track and we hugged. Face to face! What joy! What peace! What delight!
Just recently, I was loaned the book, Number 176520, the story of Nazi Holocaust survivor Paul Argiewicz. When Paul was removed from his family, he wondered if he would ever see his father’s face again. He didn’t. But after the war was over, he began a long search for his sister Lucy, the only family to survive the concentration camps. When he found her, it was with unrestrained tears of joy that they embraced each other “face to face.”
But we anticipate an even greater delight, the settled hope of seeing Jesus “face to face”. Our joy will be far greater than from any other face to face meeting. Our happiness will be complete, our hope fulfilled, our longings satisfied in Him. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;” writes the apostle Paul, “but then we shall see face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). The apostle John wrote about our future when Christ returns and we are with Him – “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face…” (Revelation 22:3-4).
Carrie Breck expressed these longings in her 1898 hymn, “Face to Face”.
Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me?
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!
Only faintly now I see Him, With the darkened veil between,
But a blessèd day is coming, When His glory shall be seen. Refrain
What rejoicing in His presence, When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened, And the dark things shall be plain. Refrain
Face to face—oh, blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so. Refrain
O Lord, give us hearts full of longing to see Jesus – to know and believe and live in the reality of seeing Jesus face to face; to live at school, work, and home as glad ambassadors for Christ, for “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
I received this from my brother on Saturday, September 3. Sunday morning, during our first worship hour, one of our elders, Phil Johnston, received a message from his wife, Margaret, that her mother, just four days short of 95 years, had entered our Lord’s presence. Just minutes before, Phil was thinking about this dear saint as we sang the lines from Charles Gabriel’s hymn, “My Savior’s Love,” the last verse,
When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages To sing of His love for me.
Thanks Wes and Phil, for stirring that longing in my heart.