Yesterday clouds rolled in and the sky turned black. Mid-morning the clouds broke and the rain came down hard. After some time it let up but the sky stayed gray and the air stayed humid. Hot, muggy, and dark.
It was late afternoon as I started to drive home from work, windows open and music on. Trying hard to be patient and joyful amidst the construction and road work and frustrated people crammed together on the highway. Little drops started coming, then big splats of water and by the time I got to my exit, the downpour was fierce.
I wish I had pictures of the beauty — the old houses and fields with dark clouds surrounding and flashes of light every now and then. But for some reason it didn’t seem wise to pull over and get out to take pictures. So slowly we all drove and flung water off the windshields, leaning over steering wheels and feeling the vibrations of thunder.
The lightning strikes were everywhere; I could see bolts touching down every few seconds. As I got closer to home, there was one seemingly right next to me, so bright I was blinded and left seeing spots.
There’s a section in Exodus (ch. 33) where Moses was in Sinai with God, seeking wisdom and instruction. God tells him to bring the people out of Sinai, but Moses replies with worry. Who will go with him to bring this huge gathering of people? The Lord reassures him, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Moses says, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” And a few lines later, he asks a bold request: “Please, show me Your glory.”
The Lord replied, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live. Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
We see later in chapter 34 that Moses had to veil his face when he went back to speak with the Israelites, because his face shone so brightly from being with the Lord. God’s glory is so bright we can’t stand — or sit, or walk, or hop, or anything — in His Presence without being consumed. He is that holy, and we are not.
That blinding lightning bolt doesn’t even compare to His glory. Yet it was so bright I couldn’t see! It was a taste of how great He is, How glorious He is. It made me wonder just how bright God’s glory must be, how marvelous His Presence must be. The only time any of us will ever understand the extent of His glory is when we’re perfect, in Heaven with Him. But for now, He gives us lightning bolts as glimpses of His glory. How amazing is that?!