I started this blog back in 2007, with a post called When God Shows Up. Since then I have written 100 posts, attracted about 2,000 page views a month, and have publishers dumping books, videos, and video games on me asking for reviews. It seems to be a success in every way except the reason I started it in the first place.
When I reread these words in that first post, despite all that has happened in my life and how much I’ve grown as a Christian, I find not much has changed:
We're like autistic children; too much stimulus and we start screaming and run away. There have been times in my relationship with God, that He has moved beyond typical interactions, and I've felt His presence physically touching me; I've heard His voice in more audible tones. Every time I've approached this intimate relationship with God, I've pulled back, and yet it is the type of relationship I desire most. It is this simultaneous desire and hesitancy that creates a constant struggle in my life. When I sin, it is usually a direct result of this struggle. I start to get too close to God and pull back and do something to purposely push Him away. Those of you who know my whole testimony are probably thinking this sounds very familiar, you'd be right. However, unlike the last time, I'm taking a stand right here, right now, to press on in this relationship God desires from me, and overcome the desire to run.”
In fact rather than getting rid of the desire to run, I think I’ve just come to understand why it’s there the more I’ve come to know God. I had one experience just after writing this post all those years ago that provides a good example of why.
I had just finished reading Exodus 33-34, about Moses asking God to show him His glory. And so I began to seek the Lord because I wanted to see His glory too. I foolishly prayed out to God, “I don’t care if it kills me; I want to know all of your glory!”
I’ve read some commentaries and heard some pastors say that when Solomon says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) and when Jesus says, “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) that they just mean be in awe of God. There aren’t enough synonyms in any thesaurus for "foolishness" to begin to describe the stupidity of this idea.
Did Jesus tell John, “do not be in awe” in Revelation 1:17? No, He said “do not be afraid.” Why?
I found out on that day. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I felt a weight drop on me, and I fell on my face like a dead man. And God’s glory covered me, and like the shepherds in the field that first Christmas night, I was sore afraid. I thought I was going to die, and I could feel that God was holding back, a lot. For hours I lay under the weight of His presence, until I managed to whisper, “please stop, I think I’m going to die.”
His presence lifted, and I pulled myself to a fetal position and bemoaned my unworthiness with a wrenching weeping, while God’s Spirit comforted me.
The experience humbled me and gave me a better understanding of this God I’m seeking to know. He is not a big, lovable grandpa in the sky. He is God. He loves us enough to send His Son to die in our stead so that we can stand before Him in the Day of Judgment and not be destroyed. But in the mean time He loves us enough to keep us at a distance lest we see His face and die.
Yet that is my desire still, to press in to see His face no matter what the cost, so I die daily that I might be resurrected and behold His glory, but I do so in a proper understanding of whose glory it is that I’m seeking.
So, wherever this blog goes over the next 100 posts, however many readers there are, may it always be for His glory alone because God alone is worthy.