Children are full of questions, but it’s usually the five-year-old boy who asks this one. You know the kid. He'll be running around the place with his toy plane, swishing it around and making noise. Then all of a sudden he'll turn to you and ask, "What does God look like?"
And there you stand.
Adults don’t ask such questions. They don’t have the time for such things. Also there are the problems of the physical describing the spiritual, the finite understanding the infinite, in short, the creation comprehending the creator.
But even in the adult world, the question remains. It’s haunting and demands an answer. What does God look like?
When Jesus walked the face of the earth, he actually addressed this issue. No, he never told us what God looked like; instead he showed us. And he used the power of story to do so.
So what’s the answer?
God looks like a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep to search high and low for a lost lamb (Luke 15:4-7), then calls all to rejoice when it is found. God looks like a king who forgave an unbelievable debt, one impossible to repay, just for the asking (Matt 18:23-35). God looks like a rich landowner who showed grace when he paid his vineyard workers at the end of the day (Matt 20:1:16). Or how about this? God looks like dad, running towards his stinking son, a boy dressed in rags and smelling like pigs (Luke 15:11-32).
When we read these stories what do we read? Well we may read a story about a dignified father running, hugging, and kissing his filthy son, but we are shown a stunning picture of our heavenly father.
Though these images are not photographically clear, the stories of Jesus have provided us, as through a dark or dim glass, a picture of the face of God. Only story has this power to communicate the infinite to the finite, the holy to the sinful, and truth into a hard heart.
So what does God look like? Is the question really important?
The question is extremely important, for in the quest to seek its answer will reside the meaning of life. And that is very important to the five-year-old who lives within all of us.
Originally posted February 2014