Nathaniel Hawthorn's short story The Great Stone Face tells of a valley wherein lived many thousand inhabitants. Overlooking the valley was a mountain on whose perpendicular side could be seen the features of a human face. One day, a little boy named Ernest sat listening to his mother tell the story of The Great Stone Face. She told him of the legend that promised one day a man with exactly that face would come and visit their village. This man would be a blessing to those around him.
Ernest longed for the legend to manifest itself. At the end of each day he would sit and gaze at the face for many hours, studying its contours. In many waysk the face became his teacher as his thoughts and life centered on the blessing the person with The Great Stone Face would someday be.
Through the years, rumors would circulate that one with a resemblance to The Great Stone Face had indeed arrived in the village. Ernest would rush in his excitement to see the person, only to realize quickly that the rumors were false. This happened again and again, leaving Ernest at once disappointed but also hopeful that another day would bring the living legend to his village.
As he aged, Ernest became well known in his region for his wisdom and care. Then one day, as an old man, a poet came to Ernest's village. Ernest read his works with delight and knew this must be the one who resembled The Great Stone Face!
And yet, just as with times past, when Ernest met the poet, the poet by his own admission was not the man. The poet knew that his words did not match his life, and the one who resembled The Great Stone Face must be a man of integrity.
Ernest and the poet became friends, however. One evening, they took a walk together and stopped, as was Ernest's custom, at a particular place in the open air where Ernest would discourse to an assembly of the inhabitants of the valley.
As Ernest spoke of what was on his heart and mind, the poet was able to view both Ernest and The Great Stone Face in the background. Suddenly, with an irresistible impulse, he threw his arms in the air and shouted, Behold! Behold! Ernest is himself the likeness of The Great Stone Face!
He had become what he had looked at.
The same holds true for us. As we behold the holiness of God, we become like him. Our appearance changes. Our actions transform. Our lives become his.
Gaze daily into the face of the Father. Who knows? Someone who is looking for him might just catch a glimpse of him in you!
And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18