Faith

The Robe

The Lord revealed something totally radical to me recently, and because it’s pretty complicated, I thought I could explain it to you all.

He is God. Me? Not so much.

I know, RIGHT?!?!?! I should really try and make it in the world as a writer because I  drop KNOWLEDGE BOMBS left and right.

Truly, though, I have really been marveling at what the Lord is doing in my life. He is revealing things to me about myself and the way I see Him. I won’t say I’m a totally different person, but I will say it has rocked me in a spectacular way.

It has been a sacred journey, and I’ve hesitated to even write about it, because you can’t usually translate these things in words. Which is kind of the point, I guess. It’s so beautiful that words just look ugly, and it all pales in comparison.

I’ll try, though.

I think it started in church, but it might have been the shower. That’s normally where the knowledge bombs detonate.

I was lost in a worship song and singing it out when I asked myself the question that should always be addressed during praise.

Do you believe what you’re singing?

Your hands are raised up and your eyes are closed, but the words…

Are they buried in your soul or just falling from your lips? 

I want it, Lord. Every part of me that doesn’t feel it. The parts that doubt. That wonder if heaven is just wishful thinking and if I’m a fool to believe He left the tomb.

Despite the times when I question, there is always, always a genuine core of faith that doesn’t let me wander too far off. But my mouth runs in every direction and I’m angry about the food burning and I just want her to LISTEN to me. And if this is life with Him, maybe it’s just not going to look like I thought it was. Because it’s still hard. It’s really, really, really hard sometimes.

And I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing wrong.

Several months ago I was reading and I came across a description of Isaiah 6. I can’t articulate what it was that moved me so, because I have gone back and read that commentary again and I didn’t see any words that jumped out as overwhelming. It wasn’t the words, I know. It was the Holy Spirit wooing His broken bride, and I will never forget it.

In this part of the text, Isaiah is describing a vision He had of the Lord. I’ve read it before. Lots of times. And I’ve thought it was interesting. But still, you know…a story of someone else’s encounter with the living God. I mean, good for him and all, but I’m not having that vision so I can’t see it like he does. Go Isaiah. Happy for you, buddy. Let’s carry on and do a church craft project.

For some reason as I read though, I got through Isaiah 6:6 and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Not like in a cute PG-13 movie where the girl has been on a date and she closes the door and slides down the back of it doing that weird thing where she’s trying to breathe. And they always have pretty tears. Thank you, movies, for making my husband think I am a freak when my head swells up to three times it’s normal size and I sound like a dying animal.

Anyway, it wasn’t that way. I was legitimately undone.

UN. DONE.

“…I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple…”

I could see it. Not in a prophetic, visual way, but I felt it to be true. In fact, I don’t know that my children playing a few rooms away were any more real than the train of His robe.

I kept my hand in my Bible and bowed my head, speechless.

It filled the temple.

“Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory…”

It fills the earth.

I’m not a Bible scholar, much to my chagrin, but that doesn’t mean I can’t read the word of God and ask Him to give me a glimpse of Himself. Don’t you think He wants to speak this way to all of us? I do.

I’ve read this story many times, as I said. But in that moment, sitting still and listening closely, I asked Him why I was crying.

It filled the temple.

The words echoed over and over and spoke life to places that have always been dead. It was a fundamental, clear vision of who I am in regard to Him. I have worn Todd out telling him about all of these beautiful revelations I’m having and I’ve come to believe I might be the last one on the bus with this. Because every good Christian realizes this, right? I didn’t, and it troubled me. I gave myself way too much credit, and as a result I wasn’t able to worship Him the way I should have.

I’ve always felt like I’m one bad decision away from wrecking everything. And therein lies the issue, I suppose.

I’m already wrecked. That’s the whole stinking point.

I mean, I would have answered that on the “Are you a Christian” multiple choice test, but I don’t know that I felt the weight of it.

I am all of those things I don’t want to be. I am wretched in my sin. Flesh and good intentions will get me nowhere. It’s horrifyingly ugly to see yourself this way.

Well, it used to be.

Until that train filled the temple.

Hear me say this, because it doesn’t end with words like “wretched” and “ugly.”

I have never felt so beautiful.

I think what I have needed in my walk is a clear vision of who I am and who He is, and for whatever reason, this was that moment. I saw myself the way Isaiah saw himself while the angels covered their feet because they knew they were unclean.

“…Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

My Bible says this in the footnotes: “The revelation of the Holy One is disturbing.”

Yes, disturbing. And what a strange word to describe the presence of God. But the truth is, it settled something deep within me.

I’m uncomfortable in the presence of God. And you know what? That’s the appropriate response. I’m not supposed to cuddle up to Him like He’s my teddy bear and He is just going to give me whatever I want if I ask nicely. His majesty is disturbing.

It fills the temple.

And just like that, I loved Him more. Differently. I felt myself tremble at the thought of being in His presence, and it wasn’t that I was scared. Just, I guess, aware of what that really meant.

I can’t see Him the way Isaiah did, but I believe that he was a real man who walked into a real temple and had a true vision of the Lord. In that, he recognized his sinfulness and cried out in awe. Scripture tells us that one of the seraphim flew to him and touched a burning coal to his lips and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Instead of asking why I felt disturbed, I realized I had missed the entire point.

Why was I ever allowed to open the temple door in the first place?

The posture of my heart shifted and I just let it take its toll on me, because the fear I had was equal to the gratitude that spills from having your door on the handle and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is just as He says it is. That His presence is real, and that His mercy still speaks life over us.

And it filled everything in me.

I didn’t deserve it, but in His mercy, the door turned. I beheld Him and I loved Him.

As the coal burns us, so it heals…

Thank you, Jesus. 

Let it be for your glory, and for that alone.

~A

Here is a book I read recently and HIGHLY recommend if this resonated with you…The Holiness of God by RC Sproul.

 

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