9. The Unknown, Tomorrow, & Mysterious Glory

Exodus 33:12-23 (NIV)
Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

My checking account was 18 cents overdrawn tonight. Living by faith got a little miscalculated. There’s a lot to be said for comfort, safety, and predictability. So, as I sit down to try to find that, I’m not sure where my search will take me. Maybe it will take me to the end of myself. Maybe it will take me to the ends of the earth. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll end up at tomorrow, stumbling, drunk with sleep, ready to use my hand as a hammer to put my blaring alarm clock out of its (and my) misery. Regardless, I’m not sure what kind of comfort I’m looking for. Maybe I’m looking for the comfort of not fitting into the loud culture around me. No. Can one find comfort in not fitting in? Is there safety in the unknown? While I haven’t quite made it to the edge of the world…I’ve come to the edge of me. And while I have no personal ill feelings toward tomorrow, I’d rather not think of it. Eighteen cents may be better left in tomorrow, otherwise it will just add to the unknown, making it only more infinite.

Roped around my mind is Exodus 33. While I’m not sure why I enjoy it, there’s a mystery hanging in my cabin. It’s more than the mystery of how to pay bills, or how tomorrow will work itself out. There’s a mystery that lies just beyond my reach: maybe to my front porch, or maybe a little higher, to the treetops. Or maybe even higher, to the sky, that as I squint with my weak eyes on the smallest star, I try to comprehend the time and space between it and myself. I somehow am drawn into the mystery that the same hand that created the elements of that heavenly body created my body that is one minute older now than when I began this thought. This mystery is a mystery that Moses was caught up in, and even though he talked with God as two friends having a conversation (Ex 33:11), maybe all he knew about God is that He is a mystery. Maybe Moses was such a close friend with God because he came to grips with the fact that he couldn’t figure God out. All Moses knew is that for some reason the Creator of the Universe took interest in him. Moses was caught up in that and found himself walking a tight rope between the MYSTERY and the unknown. And his cry was the same cry of the overdrawn missionary as he said, “If You want me to go…then go with me.” And if it’s true that this dreamlike friendship is real then please don’t stop there. “Show me Your Glory.”

The air grows colder in my cabin, and the night sinks further into the mystery. The anticipation builds for the dawn. “We sing the songs that awaken the dawn,” says the Psalmist. What shall we call this song? A lamentation? A dirge? A sonnet? Or the symphony of a tongue awed with the revelation that a lifetime is not long enough to get to know this Friend. So, let’s make it an eternity. And I’m sure this desire is worked out the same on His side too. Why else would He give of Himself to even make it possible? He did it more than to break into history. He did it more than to change the B.C. into A.D. He didn’t intend to only break into our world, He did it to break into our hearts.

So, here I am, my dearest Lord. Here I am with tired eyes. Here I am with my overdrawn banking account. Here I am with my cracked brick walls. Here I am with my arms tied down, legs broken, and old dreamlands dusting on the shelf. Here I am, the pieces of me that I don’t know how to put together. Here I come with my thoughts of who You are. Fumbling and bumbling, I’m trying to let You know that I know You are here. Here I am on the edge of this moment, tomorrow, and myself. If I am Your friend, then go with me. Cut the ropes of this society off my arms, heal my legs, and convince my oft-unbelieving heart that reality is wherever You are. I will only go if You go with me. I beg, “Show me Your Glory.” And when You reveal it, please give me eyes to see it. Let Your unknown be my home. And while I don’t comprehend it, let it somehow give me peace. Amen.

(24 hours after writing this, finances came in the mail. The amount covered the overdraft plus a bill that was due the following day)

Listen to the song that was written at the same time as this essay:

“Moses” by Joel Bidderman | from “Dust: the nomad chronicles vol. 1”