The Sun In My Eyes
Revelations 1:14-16 His eyes were like a flame of fire…and his voice was like the roar of many waters… from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
I have a confession to make. I skipped this passage yesterday because I sometimes choose the God I like and ignore the God I prefer not to think about. I do this with the bible. I do not like the book of Revelations. I do not understand it and I would rather just skip it altogether. So yesterday, I skipped this passage. As I reread the chapter however, I realized I needed to address it. In reading it again, I remembered why I skipped it the first time.
God is at times terrifying. I do not like this version of God, so sometimes I skip verses as I skip over attributes of God. I like a warm, fuzzy, loving God that makes me feel good about myself. I do not like to contemplate what God thinks about my destructive behavior.
God, in his fullness however, may very well be frightening to behold. I think I would be intimidated by meeting the president, so how much more overwhelming would it be to meet the creator of the universe. Moses had the audacity to ask God if he could see his actual presence and God inclined, sort of. God told Moses that he could not withstand the full appearance of his face, so He allowed Moses to see only his back as man shall not see me and live (Exodus 33:20).
I do not think that God’s primary effect on us is to be terrifying. God is love (1 John 4:8) and He is constantly pursuing a loving relationship with us. It is because He loved Moses that He shielded him from the full view of his own face. The point is, that while God is love, his full appearance may be blinding to us.
I once was on a run in wealthy Phoenix neighborhood just prior to sunrise. As the sky lightened, I could see all the beautiful houses that were better than mine and I began to covet them. As I was running east, the sun rose over the distant mountains and blinded my vision. It was both painful and beautiful as my focus on the wealth around me evaporated and I became enamored with the warmth and heat of the very thing that was blinding me. I think God is like this. At times, it is painful to my flesh nature to behold him, but when I embrace him, I abandon the destructive distractions of that flesh nature.
So the question for me is, What do I do when I encounter God in a manner that I find unpleasant? Do I dismiss and explain him away, or do I try to understand him? If I truly want to know God, I need to be willing to accept that He may sometimes exist in a fashion that hurts my eyes. God can be terrifying and if it were not for his mercy and grace, I could not stand his gaze.
The fantastic message of the the bible however, is that like Moses, He shields me from the terror of his fullness. He loves me, showing me grace and mercy instead of fear and judgment. So, though I sometimes find it uncomfortable, I need to keep the sun in my eyes.