One of my classes in college was called, “Apostles of Hope” in which we studied the apostles, their relationship with Jesus and how they started a movement that centered on a new hope in the resurrected Christ. Their time with Jesus changed their lives forever. The apostles preached a message of hope grounded in a God of love and grace. As the class discussed these faithful believers my spirit became uncomfortable and troubled. When it was my turn to share my thoughts, I told the class that the God I had come to know was stuffed into a box that did not reflect the God of the apostles. The box that held my God was lined with walls of guilt, shame, oppression and abusive authority. It was certainly not a God of love or grace. How could I understand the God of hope that the apostles knew? They met this God through Jesus Christ whom they came to trust and love. How could I lift the lid and learn to trust in that kind of God? As they listened to my story, one of the students named Julie, looked at me with compassion and told me that instead of uncovering the box all at once, it might be easier if I poked some holes in the top and let God out a little at a time. This very insightful advice gave me permission to build a new relationship of faith in a God of hope a little at a time.
Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
For a great deal of my life, just like Israel, there was a veil over my face so that I could not see or experience God’s glory. It was a veil of fear, distrust, anger, bitterness and sadness. I thought God was a disciplinarian who kept track of all of my sins in order to punish me. My fear and distrust kept me from seeing God’s face and it also hid my face from God or so I thought. In my mind, if God couldn’t see me than it was less likely that I would be punished. This same idea, I now understand, kept God in a box with the lid securely fastened. By keeping God in the box, it kept God from seeing my unworthiness. It is when I followed Julie’s suggestion to start punching holes in the lid or you could say in my belief that I began to discover a God of forgiveness, grace, love and faithfulness. Like the biblical text, my veil began to slip and finally fall completely away from my eyes and heart to reveal the Spirit of the Lord. Slowly I have been transformed to not only see God but also have God’s Spirit reflected or mirrored in and through me to share with others so that they too can experience the God of love. Just like Julie suggested, I want to help others poke holes in their boxes so that they will be able to see and know the same God of hope that inspired with the apostles and lives in me.