Friday, April 15, 2011

The perspective of years

On Monday I continued writing on my journey through Ann's book. Chapter 8 is on trusting God and I only got through a portion of the chapter in my last post so consider this Chapter 8 part 2:-)

Towards the end of the chapter Ann makes this statement.
"Sometimes we don't fully see in Christ, because of Christ, through Christ, He does give us all things good - until we have the perspective of years.
In time, years, dust settles.
In memory, ages, God emerges.
Then when we look back, we see God's back."
Then she uses a beautiful illustration from Exodus 33. Moses asks to see God's glory, and this is the response he gets.
"And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the LORD said, “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.” -Exodus 33:19-21
I have read this story... taught on this story many times, and never have I thought of the cleft God stuck Moses in as a dark place. But Ann catches it, and I read on.... and it catches me off guard because one would think that sticking Moses in a cleft and covering him would be just a minor detail, yet now I see it as the most important detail. It's dark in the cleft.... it's even darker when He places His hand over the cleft. Darkness.... unable to see.... no way to know what is going outside..... that is where Moses was placed. It was only after Moses entered the darkness.... the unknown..... that He was then able to see the glory of God. And Ann has this to say.
"When it gets dark, it's only because God has tucked me in a cleft of the rock and covered me, protected, with His hand?... In the dark, the bridge and my world shakes, cracking dreams. But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can't see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, I-beam supporting in earthquake. Then He will remove His hand. Then we will look."
Can it really be true, this idea that "dark is the holiest ground?" The statement is hard, and I want to see it as impossible.... but what about the lesson I taught just a few days ago to those young ones. Did not Jesus experience the darkest possible place that day as He hung on the cross? But isn't it through the darkness of the cross... through the death of an innocent man that God's glory was fully revealed? And suddenly the statement doesn't seem so impossible.

But sometimes we don't see Him in the midst of darkness... sometimes it's so dark and we can't see a thing, that is when we have to trust (there's that word again) that He is faithful and will never leave. Because sometimes we don't see Him till later on down the road, till we take a peck in that rear-view mirror. And As Ann says, "I've an inkling that there are times when we need to drive a long. long distance, before we can look back and see God's back in the rear-view mirror... maybe sometimes about as far as heaven- that kind of distance."

*I wrote Ch 8 part 1 here.
*All unmarked quotes are from Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts

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