Suffering with hope

Seek God’s Face Before You Seek His Hand

Recently, we were discussing at Bible Study what it means to seek God‘s face, as it says in Psalm 27:8:

“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

As I listened, what struck me most was the importance of distinguishing between seeking God’s hand and seeking his face.

To seek God‘s face is to seek his character, truth, and presence, whereas to seek his hand, is to seek his provision and circumstantial answers to our prayers, desires, fears, longings, and struggles.

Without going into detail, this year has been filled with circumstances that have constantly tempted me to question God‘s compassion, love, and tender care for me. It’s been in the moments when I’ve pleaded for relief, begging him to see my weariness and offer tangible circumstantial encouragement to my fragile heart, but instead been met with another difficult blow. Because I was looking for his love and care for me through the circumstances from his sovereign hand, when negative circumstances came, they naturally brought feelings of hurt, confusion, or even anger.

However, the Holy Spirit has been gently opening my eyes to see my recent tendency to allow what I can see and understand to interpret God’s Character, rather than his character to interpret what I can see and understand. Therefore, I’ve been giving the enemy an easy target since it hasn’t take much for a difficult circumstance to make me question God’s faithfulness.

But in his Word, God commands us to seek his face above all. Seek to know his character, truth, and presence through what he has revealed about himself. This is a crucial distinction because, like God, his word is unchanging (Matthew 24:25). The same cannot be said for our circumstances. So if we are always looking for God’s love and care for us by what we can see in the moment, we will be tossed by the waves of our limited understanding.

Friend, what are you longing for right now? Bring your requests and honest struggles to him. He wants to hear your heart (Psalm 61:2-3).

But don’t look to his answers (or apparent lack of answers) as the measure of his love, faithfulness, and goodness. Seek his face through his Word and prayer, and allow that truth to be the lens you view your circumstances through. Above all, seek his face, and you will be greater able to trust his hand – regardless of the outcome.

In His Strength,

Sarah Walton

To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here. Jeff and Sarah Walton’s marriage book, Together Through the Storms – Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts. Or pre-order Sarah’s new evangelistic book – Tears and Tossings: Hope in the Waves of Life.

4 thoughts on “Seek God’s Face Before You Seek His Hand”

  1. Amen. I am (like all of us at times I suppose) guilty of seeking God’s hand more than seeking his face. This is reminiscent of my own post from this morning on a similar subject. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is drawing this to my attention today. Thank you for your post.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Sarah. I’ve been dealing with a strange health setback that seemingly came out of nowhere (after 2 years of recovering from a cycling accident) and this is a very timely post for me to read. And isn’t that just like God in his faithfulness?

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