show me Your glory

 it is 6:30 am. four little sleepy bundles are carried out to a cold mini van. no sign of day yet. the starry sky still hung out from the night before.  one little bundle peaks over my shoulder as i carry her down grandma & grandpa's front stoop. 'wow.' she whispers to the dark sky splendour.  she's never seen the heavens sparkle before.
there's not another soul in sight, other than the silhouette of two groggy grandparents waving goodbye from the barely lit doorway. we pull out of the driveway & begin our journey home down winding roads. a deep, dark fog envelops our van.  cloud so thick it sticks to the windshield. i wonder if this is what moses saw? i wonder if this is what glory looks like? nothing else distinguishable. everything, all swallowed up in this all consuming cloud. this closeness that dwells, that burns from the outside in.  this face-to-face intimacy.
"You cannot see My face, for no man can see my face and live!" 
{exodus 33:20}
"but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was." 
{exodus 20:20-21}
seeing God is costly.  something has to die. something is always transfigured.  like Jacob's limp.  there is always a cost.  do i truly want to meet Him in all His reality? in all His truth? in all His grace? 
formless vapour blankets us as we rise & fall on rolling hilltops. we're intensely focused on navigating the fog now, only anticipating a few feet ahead of us at a time, aware of the veiled peril on each side of these country roads.
"when God only gives us the guidance we need for the moment, it tends to keep us closer"
{bill johnson}
i've felt that glory before. that sweet glory.  the presence that answers that desperate hannah cry. the glory that cloaks, that hides, that sheathes & shelters.
waves billow over the hood as we descend into another valley until we disappear again. what does glory, so purifying it could kill, look like? sound like? smell like? 
"all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.  they said to moses, 'speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us or we will die." {exodus 20:18-19}
those poor israelites, terrified they'd die if they heard His voice not realizing that the death they feared was in the absence of His all sustaining voice.  they chose to have a mediator to have those death-defying encounters with their God. they outsourced to moses.  i look at my own life, and i realize i'm not so different from my israelite brothers. and i know there can be no authentic relationship with Him for those who prefer a mediator.  there is no outsourcing for this kind of intimacy. no shortcut. no substitute. no lamb to sacrifice. just me. all of me.  a living sacrifice to be burnt up by His purifying presence.
the fog begins to disperse as the stars get rolled up and the sunrise lifts on the horizon. the outlines of roofs & treetops appear.   cloud lingers at the base of trees & livestock begin to emerge as heavy sky begins to ascend. butterflies flutter around in my stomach. i'm not sure if i'm carsick or glory hungry. the more i think, the more i wonder. what does His face look like?  what does it feel like to look into His eyes?
"i saw the Lord... with the train of His robe filling the temple." {isaiah 6:1} 
filling, like a cloud that came but also kept coming & billowing in, wave upon wave. i look at how far i have ridden on my past encounters with Him & i think of the potency of those now seemingly small experiences. what could happen if out of desperation i cried out for that weighty, thick Presence continually? what would happen to me? i'd be ruined for anything else. how could i ever be content knowing there is more of the One who never ends to explore & experience? how could i ever conceptualize something like this? there is no framework, no theory, no words in any language that could support this kind of an encounter. impossible to impart or mediate to someone else. and i am jealous for it and i am suddenly starving, desperate for glory.
“safe?” said mr. beaver; “don’t you hear what mrs. beaver tells you? who said anything about safe? ‘course he isn’t safe. he's wild, you know. not like a tame lion. but he’s good. he’s the King, i tell you.” 

His presence is never safe but He is always the good & rightful King. 
this is what i was created for.  this is where i belong.
to see the cloud & step in...

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