Dazzling Light

“. . . the dazzling light . . .”

Then the cloud covered the Tent and the dazzling light of the Lord‘s presence filled it.  Because of this, Moses could not go into the Tent.”
(Exodus 40:34-35)
It was a foggy morning when I arrived at our church this past Sunday.  As I got out of the car I noticed the sun peering through the fog.  It was one of those rare moments when if you quickly glance at the sun through the fog you see what appears to be a perfectly round ball.  With a a very dark filter for the camera (sort of like sun glasses) I was able to get a picture.

If you stop to think about it, normally we can’t really see the sun.  The brilliance of its light is so painfully dazzling that it keeps us from being able to stare at the sun even for the briefest of moments.  As a matter of fact, if I understand it correctly, the painful, dazzling, visible light serves as a protection, causing us to avert our gaze before the even more dangerous invisible rays from the sun do serious damage to our eyes.  I’m a curious person, and I want to see, and explore, so I can understand.  That’s the scientist in me.  (My undergraduate degree is in biology.)   However, in the case of the sun, my not being able to see the sun most days is what protects me from harm even as the sun gives me the assurance of its life-sustaining energy. 

I sense there’s a correlation with God.  The passage from Exodus tells us that at times when God’s presence filled the tent the dazzling light kept Moses from being able to enter and see God.  However, the presence of the light meant that God’s reassuring, life-giving presence was residing with God’s people.  As much as I want to see and understand God, maybe there’s a reason I can’t.  I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it quite like this before, but maybe the mystery of God somehow does serve to protect me.  Maybe there are things in this life and the life to come that are just too much for me to handle today.  Maybe the best thing for me is to know God but not be able to fully see or know God.  Maybe that’s why I get a little uncomfortable when I get a sense that some folks try to reduce Jesus to a mere buddy.  As critical as it is for Jesus to be the One who embodies the presence of God and walk with me daily giving the reassurance of life, it still seems important for me that I not reduce Jesus to a mere buddy.  To do that is to somehow no longer hold in tension the intimacy with God (the knowing God) with the majesty and wonder of God (the not fully knowing God).  One without the other is not God, but rather, simply my construction of God. 

I pray that God will continue to give me the curiosity and desire to seek and know God, and the patience and assurance to live with the reality that I can’t really know God until I see God face to face.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on September 18, 2013.

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