Every morning I do what I’ve never particularly enjoyed: look in the mirror.
On some occasions, I’ve had to ready my appearance without the luxury of a mirror. Such as on backpacking or camping trips. As I get older, I must concern myself with things that once didn’t bother me: nose hairs, ear hairs, no hair, unruly eyebrows. How can I possibly address these unwelcome guests without a mirror?
Unless the mirror is distorted—such as the antique one that hangs in my bedroom—the image I witness shows the real deal. The mirror reveals me as I am—unpleasant as it may be. You probably wouldn’t notice, but God placed one of my ears a little lower than the other. That makes my eyebrows follow suit. One of my legs stretches a little longer than the other, and one of my cheekbones protrudes a little farther than the other. Not a pretty sight, and thanks to the mirror, I can’t escape reality. Fortunately, my self-esteem isn’t based on appearance.
But what about God’s appearance? Jesus said, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
When I think of a spirit, I imagine a ghostlike apparition with no form or substance. Doubtlessly, this isn’t true about God. Since I’m created in his image (Genesis 1:27), he must appear somewhat like me: arms, legs, hands, feet, face, nose, ears, and mouth. Yet, he must be dissimilar to me in other ways. Since my body must be altered to inhabit heaven (2 Corinthians 5:3), God’s spirit body must be different as well. Biblical writers use various figurative words to describe God based on the characteristics they are addressing.
Knowing exactly what God looks like is impossible. This we can know, however. When we see him, we will no longer look in a distorted mirror. We will see him face to face and know him as he knows us. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. (1 John 3:2) As his child, we don’t have to fear the One who loved us enough to allow his Son to die for our sins.
Regardless of how God might appear, look forward to seeing him face to face!