One of the best parts of our day after work is coming home to be greeted with joy and warmth by Charlie, our 8-year-old Shoodle (cross between a Poodle and Shi-Tzu). He’d be on his hind legs, balancing himself, while he reaches out excitedly with his two front paws, similar to the posture a child assumes when they want a hug. His face lights up at seeing us. It is as if he’s saying, “It is so good to see you”. In turn, our faces light up. This is one of the big reasons why I prefer a dog over a cat any day! (sorry, cat lovers).
Back in 1986, I made a trip to K.L (my home at the time) after being in Brisbane for three years. When my mum saw me, she bursts into tears, stroking my face before giving me a big hug. I’ll be honest – I missed her too but I thought her response was just a bit over the top. However, having not seen Melissa (our daughter) in person for nearly two years now, I’m starting to have a rethink about my mum’s reaction!
One of the most beautiful scenes that I’ve witnessed happens at airports where family or friends who’ve not seen one another for long periods of time, are reunited. Loud screams of “Aaaaah”, followed by a long embrace and then, tears (sometimes). It feels good just watching it.
In their book, ‘The other half of Church: Christian Community, Brain Science and Overcoming Spiritual Stagnation’, the authors write, “Our brains desire joy more than any other thing. As we go through our day, our right brains are scanning our surroundings, looking for people who are happy to be with us. God designed facial recognition circuitry into our brains and linked it to our joy center. My wife’s face lights up when she sees me, and this initiates a joyful chain reaction in my brain that I can feel in my body. Brain science reveals that this joy sensation is crucial for emotional and relational development. Our brain looks specifically to the face of another person to find joy, and this fills up our emotional gas tank. The face is key”.
With this in mind, consider the line in the most famous and oldest blessing in the Bible in Numbers 6:24-26, ‘The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you…’. Remember, the ‘Aaronic Blessing’ is not a prayer to God but a blessing spoken by God upon us through a messenger.
The authors of the aforementioned book had this to say when reflecting on this blessing, “God designed our brains for joy, and He wants us to live in the glow of His delight. This blessing expresses a joy that can be paraphrased, ‘May you feel the joy of God’s face shining on you because He is happy to be with you’.
As children of God through faith in Jesus, are you aware when you pray, when you come to church to worship Him, God’s response is, “It is so good to see you”. What a difference might this make in your relationship with God?
We don’t have to imagine; we can experience the difference but only if we start believing in what He says.
Have faith in God,