Théoden, king of Rohan, struggled to breathe after falling in the battle for Gondor. His lungs began to collapse, and the blood that had sustained him through many stories of victory and defeat now streamed into the ground of Middle Earth. Frantic arms embraced him as he searched his years for final words. Éowyn, Théoden’s niece, spoke his name and as he focused on her, he whispered through an inviting smile, “I know your face.”
Few phrases capture me with the depth of this one. We all desire for our face to be known—not just seen and described with impressions from without but with the soul-heartened gaze that has walked the journey beside us and chosen not to turn away. Last night I recalled these words and ached to hear them. Then the words came in a kind and knowing whisper.
Jesus knows my face. He holds and raises it when shame forces my eyes to the ground. He squeezes my cheek and musses my hair when we’ve laughed. And when He sits and stares into my eyes with love, having seen the fear, the anger, questions, and wavering doubt, He moves His thumb across the damp skin under my eyes and takes the tears for His treasure. He adds them to His own.
I wonder if when He searched His vast and timeless stores of memory for final words on the cross, did He look into my eyes, as yet unformed, and whisper, “I know Your face.” Did He look into your eyes, years future, and say the same?
How I want to know His face in return. I want to sit with Him through dinner, the kind with cloth napkins and fine wine. I want to know what He’s thinking and finish His sentences as we smile and move to the center of the room. I want Him to lead me as we dance and flow as one to the song of lovers who’ve worked and worn and created together.
“I know Your face,” comforts me today and I find myself full, my face tinged by the redness of a virgin blush. Surely, the whole world must see that my face is known.