Sitting in my plastic laundry basket, Missy covered her face with splayed fingers and giggled when I walked past her. Going along with the game, I asked: “Where’s Missy? I can’t find her!” More giggles come from within the container sheltering the child. “There she is! I didn’t see you!” I hugged her and she responded with a heartfelt Mwwaaaa.
Playing Peek-a-boo with children is entertaining, but when it seems like God is playing the game with us, it’s not so fun. There are times when it seems God has vanished and nowhere to be found. We know He is there, but we can’t sense His Presence. We ask “Where is God? I can’t see Him.”
What would it be like to see God face to face? The Bible tells us that we cannot see Him while we are still earth-bound because it would be too much to comprehend. However because He loves us, God has allowed nuances of Himself to be physically communicated. Oftentimes, the revelation of God’s Presence follows a time of suffocating darkness.
I love the Biblical story in Exodus 33 of Moses confronting God with a bold request. He wanted God to be a visible presence to the others while on the journey to the Promised Land. Moses asked this because he believed that the people in his charge would see that God approved of him, and thus worthy to be their leader.
God responds “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
So, God has agreed to Moses’ request, but that is not enough for the insecure man.
Moses blurts out: “Now show me your glory.”
God does not become angry at this insolent fellow. Instead, he provides an insightful reason why He will not allow himself to be seen.
“…I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence…. But you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (NIV)
God elaborates on what He will do for Moses:
“There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my Glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
God spoke metaphorically so that Moses could understand the overwhelming essence that is God. We are not privy to the information of what actually happened to Moses when the big event occurred, but can only imagine what it was like.
While we are in our darkest times, it’s because God is at work in us. When life becomes too oppressive, that sense of darkness is actually God covering us with His hands to communicate protection and comfort. We cannot see or feel Him, but He is there beside us. After the blackness of the cave-like existence where life seems hopeless, the brilliance of daylight is the outcome of God’s Presence, therefore, seeing “his back.”
I can’t fathom what it will be like when facing God’s Glory, yet I long for that day when we meet face to face. Nevertheless, I am grateful that God is not playing a child’s game when I cannot see His face or sense His Presence.
Dear Lord God, thank you for caring so much about our meager understanding of your Holiness. Thank You for your protection and comforting embrace during the times when we are caved in darkness, for then it is then that You are working your Will for us. Lord, let us be aware that it is Your Presence even though we cannot hear or see you.
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