“The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed…”
2 Corinthians 3:17-18a
When I hear that phrase, one of the first pictures that comes to mind is that of a bride. She is adorned head to toe in white, gliding down the aisle toward her groom. A sheer white veil is draped over her face and at the end of the ceremony it will be lifted, not only so the groom may kiss his bride, but also to symbolize that from here on out, the bride will be known more fully by her husband and the husband known more fully by her. The two become one and step into a greater intimacy with each other than what they had known before.
The second thing I think about when I hear this phrase is Moses. I am fascinated by Moses’ relationship with God and how he encountered Him.
In Exodus 34 we read about how Moses would go and meet with God in a tent set up outside of the Israelite camp. He encountered the very presence of God and when he came out of the tent, his face was literally shining from the conversation. And it freaked out the people of Israel! Moses started wearing a veil over his face to conceal his glowing complexion in public. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would remove that veil until he went back out to the people.
To me that phrase means that I come naked before the Lord. All of my mess and concerns and problems, everything beautiful and good–my entire being is laid bare before Him. There is nothing to hide and no reason to hide.
Moses wore that veil in the presence of Israel because they were startled by his appearance. But before the Lord he stood unveiled, his face glowing.
Before my Lord I can weep the tears I keep hidden from others. I can cry out freely in pain or hurt or frustration. I am free to let it all out without fear of condemnation or judgment. I don’t have to wonder if He’ll think I’m stupid for crying like this, for feeling this pain. He just holds me close and cries with me.
When I come before the Lord with an unveiled face, I am free to dance and sing to my heart’s content. He won’t give me that look that says He’s not sure what I’m doing, but wishes I would stop. He won’t plug His ears at my off-key tune or look away, embarrassed for me and my dancing.
In the presence of my Lord I have no fears of being too much for Him or being too excited. I don’t have to tone it down. I am free to celebrate because He knows the depth of my joy and joins right in, dancing and celebrating with me.
When I come before the Lord with an unveiled face, I am also free to come quietly and uncertainly. I don’t have to have words or explanations. I don’t need to worry about entertaining Him. I can simply come and sit. I can simply be in His presence. He understands and He knows and He welcomes the opportunities to just sit quietly with me.
To have my face unveiled before the Lord means wearing my heart on my sleeve. It means I have access to incredible intimacy with Almighty God–the same One who braved my mess and took on flesh and faced death itself. The same One who hung on the cross, slowly suffocating on my behalf. The same One who said “It is finished” and breathed His last while the earth shook and rocks split, and the temple curtain was torn in two–that curtain that for centuries had separated the Most Holy Place, the place where the very presence of God dwelt, from the rest of the temple. No one could go behind the temple veil except for the high priest, and even he could only go once a year.
When Jesus came and died and that thick, heavy temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom, something amazing happened. God made a way for us to come before Him, unveiled. Nothing hinders us now. Jesus had paid the price for our sin; we no longer have to be separated from God. And today we have immediate access to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are free to look upon the Lord with faces unveiled just like Moses and bask in His incredible presence.
What wonder! We are free to know God intimately and to be intimately known.
Take some time to sit unveiled before Him today. Come before Him honestly, whether that means you’re crying out in pain and frustration, dancing and singing with joy, or sitting quietly, not quite sure what to say or do. God made a way for you to be with Him. No more barriers. Only unhindered access between Him and the ones He so dearly loves.
Live in His love!