Monday, February 11, 2008

Unveiled Joy

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

When Moses went up the mountain to receive the law, the people saw the shroud of cloud and fire - a horrible and frightening sight. But inside the storm, Moses saw God. The same is true for us.

I have a friend who has been diagnosed with arthritis. She is an amazing woman of God and does so much to further His kingdom. Seeing someone so willing to live their life for the Lord suffering and in pain just makes me angry. It makes me question God, question His wisdom for allowing it in her life, question His goodness and protection for those He loves. I see the storm from the outside. But inside the storm, she sees God.

When Lia left our lives, many of my friends expressed shock, anger, and fear at the storm that had decended upon us. But inside the storm, like the eye of a hurricane, we had peace and we saw God. Just like Moses, our faces were shining with joy from experiencing the Lord's presence. It is a great temptation to veil your face, believing that such joy is inappropriate for grief so deep. But the depth of the grief - the intensity of the storm - only intensifies the beauty and glory at the center of it. We must not veil our joy! For the sake of our friends watching from outside, filled with so many questions, begging to know that God is still at the center of it all, we must not veil our joy. When we come forth from our suffering shining with the light of God, it is then that our suffering not only strengthens us but also all who see us!

Watching my friend suffer now is heartwrenching. I cry out to the Lord, begging Him to take her pain away. But on Sunday, she showed me her shining face as she shared the joys of the Lord they are experiencing in the midst of suffering. I needed to see that. I needed to know that God was still at the center!

Lord, God of our storms, thank You that You truly are the center of all things, even our suffering. Thank You Lord that in our suffering we can come to know You because You surround us with an increased measure of Your presence. Thank You Lord that through our suffering we can bring joy and hope to others by sharing with them the shining light of unveiled faces! Lord do not let us be deceived by a culture telling us how we ought to conduct ourselves in grief and in suffering. Let us leap for joy, let us dance in Your presence. For in the center of the storm the songs of heaven drown out the thunder! Thank You Lord today for my friend, for her tender heart, for her willingness to credit You for her strength. Thank You for the testimony of her shining face! Thank You Lord for once again proving Yourself faithful and being the Center of her storm.

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