I have to tell you about an experience I had as I was running on a trail. It was a great run and the first one in a long time that felt effortless. As I made my turnaround and headed back to my truck I was praying and thanking God for who He is and what He is doing in our lives and family. I recall saying to Him, “I would love to be able to just see You.” And clearly, but not in audible words, I heard Him say, “You can see me.” As I heard these words I looked at the trees and then up to the sky admiring the beauty of the clouds and sun and the sounds of the forest. I replied, “yea, I can see You! I can!” That amazing thrill lasted about tw0 seconds before I said to him, “No! I mean face to face. I wish I could see You right here in front of me.”
Almost instantly I sensed His gentle reply. “You couldn’t handle it.” I was a little shocked until I reflected a bit. Moses could only see the back of God as He passed him (showing just His back was an act of mercy on God’s part). And even that limited view lit Moses up so much that he had to wear a veil so he wouldn’t frighten the Israelites. Then it dawned on me that God is so holy that He doesn’t show Himself to us in ways we think he would (or should). In fact, this is an expression which shows us kindness. If we were to see Him face to face now it would likely stop our hearts instantly, or leave us in the fetal position experiencing the biggest anxiety attack in history. That’s true of us, as His friends. Imagine what it would be like if we were His enemies. The scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” might be helpful to give us a glimpse. There, if you recall, the Spirit of God moves through the nazis before melting their faces and completely eradicating their very physical presence.
But enough imagery. My point is that it is awesome that we can see God, though in a veiled way. Even more awesome is that the book of Revelation is clear that when we arrive in glory we will be complete, and although I have no idea what it will be like to approach him then, I do know that we will live and reign with Him. The very glory that would likely kill us now because of God’s sheer beauty and holiness will then be the light by which we live. In the meantime, the book of Hebrews encourages God’s friends to approach His throne boldly in our time of need. Although I feel like I am always in need, I find this encouragement amazing. Absolutely amazing. He, this perfectly frightening and holy God, invites me, a perfectly frightful and sinful child, into His lap.
Although we struggle to make sense of what He is doing, we can make sense of His kindness and mercy to us. Even though I don’t understand everything I read about in His word or what is happening in the world, I do know God is righteous, good, and merciful. And as His child I don’t have to be afraid of His justice. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath which means His children can experience rest only as we are “in him.” We can personally know “shalom.” That is, rest on all borders.
I don’t often hear from the Lord like I did yesterday, but I’ve noticed that as I draw near to him, He seems to draw near to me in tender and intimate ways. I love that and am praying that you experience that as well.