I am convinced that one of the simplest pleasures in life is driving with the windows down. That sun-kissed, hair-blowing, music-blaring kind of feeling. It’s one of the easiest ways I can describe Spring in a moment. This may not be true by any means, but that rush of joy and excitement of being alive is what I expect Heaven to be like, only it will never end!
I say all of this to tell you that not too long ago I was driving home from the store in the midst of this COVID-19 quarantine and I saw something which encouraged my heart. God has His special ways of speaking to us, and this one hit all the joyful places in my soul.
You see, right now, the world seems a little dark. All you have to do is look at the news or social media for a few minutes and you will be bombarded with images of fear, stories of worry, and statistics that might make you morose. But I want to tell you about something different.
As I was driving, I noticed the sun peeking through the clouds, streams of sunlight pouring down to Earth. Thinking I could see those rays even clearer without my sunglasses, I took them off, and do you know what happened? I couldn’t see them at all.
All I saw was this enormous blob of blinding white light. I couldn’t look at it because it was too much for my eyes.
Back on went the glasses, and once again I could see the rays burning across a darkened sky.
You see, sometimes in the darkest moments we see God clearer. Now hold on with me, and let’s take a look at Exodus 33.
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.” -Exodus 33:18-23
So, there I was, driving along and singing worship songs and wanting to see God’s glory. And what did I see? Not the sun, but the rays—the remaining light, only visible through the shadow of my sunglasses. Somehow, through the darkness I was able to see the Lord’s beauty and power more clearly.
Isn’t that encouraging for what we are currently going through as a nation? As a body of Christ?
The Lord is not surprised by COVID-19, and His light and power shine all the clearer when we are fearful.
Now, before we pray, I want you to read these words that have been dear to my heart for many years. J.R.R Tolkien is one of my favorite authors and his characters withstand the test of time. You don’t have to look much further than the movie adaptation of the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers to be encouraged.
These words come from a moment of pure hopelessness. A moment when both Frodo and Sam are nearly at the end of their rope. All they see before them is an impossible task, one they had taken up without knowing just how strongly they would be tested.
Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
Today, remember what we are fighting for, and who we are fighting against. Satan comes to kill and destroy, but Jesus defeated death and we have victory in Him.
So, when the world is getting all the darker, my prayer is that you would see Christ’s light shine out all the clearer! That you would think like Moses, and as God presses us into the cleft of a rock, hidden in the shadows, we would see His wonderous glory.
Lord, You are far above all comprehension and Your goodness extends from one end of the universe to the other. You never fail. Ever. I ask that today we would see Your rays of sunlight in our lives. I pray against the darkness, against the fear that is surrounding our world. Lord Jesus, come and show us Your mighty glory! Amen!