But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 2 Corinthians 3:16
When my wife and I got married, we entered into a union where two become one (Genesis 2:24). We were joined together and began living not just for ourselves but for each other – at least that’s the way it was supposed to be. As my addiction grew, I steadily turned from her as I went my own way. In doing so, I put a significant distance between us. We were still living in the same house and we were still married, but there was something horrible between us.
In my first efforts at addressing the problem, I said I was sorry and promised I’d never return to my addiction but I didn’t actually change anything. My words were empty and my addiction returned. To truly repair the marriage, I had to honestly return to her and radically abandon the horrible thing between us. My first efforts were mere words, but it was only when I honestly repented that we could begin coming back together.
In today’s passage, Paul used the metaphor of the veil – not unlike a bridal veil – to describe the distance that lies between God and us. In following ourselves, we’ve turned from him and created a barrier between us. In placing our faith in Christ, we’re forgiven and that veil is removed so that we may enter into the right relationship with the father for which we were made. Daily, we may now live in a blessed union with God, knowing him, loving him, and following him. This is how we experience the life, joy, and peace for which we were made.
Often though, we still choose to go our own way. In doing so, we don’t lose our relationship with God. We do however, put a distance between him and us. God doesn’t abandon us in our failure. We abandon him as we turn and walk away.
Just like I put a distance between my wife and myself in my addiction, I also turned and walked away from God. As in my marriage, repentance didn’t mean simply saying I’m sorry. To truly return to the relationship, I had to abandon the thing that was leading me away from it.
The amazing thing about God though, is that no matter how far we walk away from him, when we do turn around, we’ll find that he’s always right there waiting. When we truly repent and turn to him, the distance we’ve created melts into nothing as he welcomes us back with open arms. God is always there, no matter what we’ve done. All we must do, is return to him.