When I Can’t See God
2 Corinthians 3:15,16 …A veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
I have a place in my head where I go to talk to God. Though I am very fond of it, I do not like to describe it as I imagine it sounds silly to others. In my mind, I sit at the beach where I find that God is everywhere. He is in the sky, the sand, the air and the water. In that place, I talk and I listen. Before the sun comes up in this world, I go sit in that sun-drenched world every day, communing with my creator.
Imagine though, what would happen if I insisted on returning to my drug use. I do not have to imagine. I have been there. I clearly remember the impact my willful disobedience had on my relationship with God. Before I relapsed, I told myself that God would forgive me and that I would return to him the next day. The next day though, I could not turn to God as I had dropped a sin-bomb in my mind.
I did not even want to think about God. I had turned my back on him and had started the long walk away from him. One bad choice led to many and I kept walking for several months. The impact on my life was profound. I lost my job, nearly lost my family and went to treatment.
Though the consequences are not always quite so tangible, when we turn from God to follow self, we always drive a wedge between us and God. In today’s passage, Paul described it as a veil. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross restored us to our proper relationship with God, literally tearing the veil in the temple at that time. Prior to Christ’s death, the veil stood as a physical barrier between an imperfect people and a holy God. The tearing of that veil at the death of Christ meant that we now can live our entire lives in the very presence of God as He now sees us as perfect in our spirit life.
As we all know though, we are not perfect in this flesh life. When we turn from God, to pursue the desires of our flesh, we always distance ourselves from him. In Paul’s words, we put the veil back on, effectively blinding us from God. We tell ourselves we will return sometime, but the more we cling to self, the more natural it becomes. We do not even realize how blind we are to God.
If I find that God is distant, it is not that He has left me. I can walk a thousand miles away from God only to find that He is right there, if I will but turn around. That, is of course, the hard part. Turning around and gazing upon the blazing light of God is painful to eyes darkened by the pursuit of self. Turning back to God for me, meant confessing, getting help and facing my mess. Though I wanted God, I remained unwilling to do what it took to repent as the turn-around was excruciating.
If I want to know God and if I want freedom from the destruction of self, then I must daily, do what it takes to turn my gaze to him. Daily, I must go to my beach, accept forgiveness for my failures and turn my face to him so that I may bask in the warmth of his presence.