I've been reading Jim and Ann Cavera's Grounded in God each evening, and each night I've been so blessed by their insights and inspirations. The piece copied below (with their permission) is entitled "The Look."
Somewhere we have read that most of the communication between husband and wife is nonverbal. That seems truer for us the longer we are together. Recently we gave some thought to this type of communication, and we decided that it all boils down to a "look." We read each other's hearts and emotions on our faces. Actually, there is a repertoire of several looks, each capable of conveying volumes without a word being spoken. There is the look that says "Let's get out of here." if we are both bone-tired and sitting somewhere other than in our own home at the end of the day. Another look useful in large gatherings says, "Did you catch it? Wasn't that funny?" Then there is the one look above all others that is the loaded weapon. This one can be deadly even across a crowded room. It says, "Now you've said something that goes too far and one of us is in trouble here." Most schoolteachers have developed this last one to a fine art for classroom use.
Nonverbal communication happens when we get to know one another reasonably well. It reduces communication to a shorthand that is often more truthful and significant than words. In the Book of Leviticus, even God is described as telling the Israelites he would "set his face against them" if they broke his laws. In fact, in Scripture God often sets his face against those who care too little for what is right. Just as God hides his face from those who do wrong, he also makes his face shine on those who make the effort to honor his laws.
Does God still communicate with us nonverbally? In moments of sin, the pain in our conscience feels a great deal like the paid we once felt when our parents gave us the "look" that meant we had done something wrong or gone too far. At other times, in moments when we have lived our faith well, there is an inner glow from the Spirit. That feeling is something akin to the way we felt when we hit a home run or scored a goal and caught a glimpse of a parent's face in the stands. The metaphors of God "setting his face against us" or making his face to "shine upon us," are beautiful expressions of intimacy we share with God. In the best of relationships, there are times when words are not needed. In moments when meaning must be communicated quickly and with truth, one look says it all.