You Can’t See Me
And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:6
I have a peculiar memory of my kindergarten classroom, where a fellow student and I were playing one day when he suddenly put his hands over his eyes, declaring, You can’t see me. He did this several times, insisting that I couldn’t see him. Try as I might to convince him that I could see him, he insisted I could not. I honestly couldn’t tell if he was joking or if he was low functioning. I just knew that he was being absurd. Refusing to open his eyes didn’t make me blind. It just made him foolish.
I did something similar in my addiction though. Behaving in a manner that was completely antithetical to what I believed, I lived in continual shame. I hated what I was doing, and I hated who I was. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, much less look at God. So, I hid my face from him. If I close my eyes, he can’t see me. I knew I needed God but I also knew I wasn’t living as I should so I closed my eyes as if that would shield me from his scrutiny. I was just like my foolish classmate years before, closing my eyes, hoping that meant God couldn’t see me. My avoidance of God didn’t make him blind. It just made me foolish.
Moses did something similar in today’s passage. When God appeared to him, speaking from the burning bush, Moses hid his face. It seems it had been a while since they’d talked, and Moses was uncomfortable in God’s presence. So, he averted his eyes, hiding himself. It was a futile act, changing nothing. God could still see him, and he still had to interact with God. I get why Moses did it. I’ve been there. Still, it was a pointless gesture.
Occasionally, I’ll run into someone who expresses a desire to get in shape, so I’ll invite them to the gym. Oh no. I’d have to get in better shape before I come to the gym. I understand the sentiment, but it’s absurd. We go to the gym precisely because we need to get in shape. Like I said though, I understand. When I got out of treatment, I knew I needed to go to church, but I wanted to clean up my life first. This was also absurd. We go to church precisely because we need it. We shouldn’t wait until we don’t need church to go.
Neither should we wait until we’re perfect to turn to God. If we did, we’d never find him. It is precisely when our lives are a disaster that our need for him is most obvious. Instead of hiding from God, if we want to turn our lives around, we must run to him, giving him our mess. In doing so, we’ll find that he’s been waiting for us with open arms.