March 14

“The people kept their distance, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:21

God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God’s face.

Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you. (Streams in the Desert)

“We worship God through our questions.” ~Abraham Joshua Heschel

I enjoy waking early, but rarely do much more with the stillness than accompany morning coffee with meditation. These are not moments for doing so much as being; reflection fuels response. One particular winter morning not long after Popi was released from his confused confines of clay, I shoved aside the sermon that insisted on intruding and allowed myself to settle on daydreaming about heaven. It feels somehow natural to think about death while peering through glazed windows at weighted skies and naked trees. A gray and barren horizon makes it suddenly a strain to remember warmth and light and hope, as recent as the day before. What complicates such mornings for me is that considering the endlessness of days creates honest inner turmoil hastened by a barbed question—will life end with death? Years ago, as a young pastor, I meticulously recorded funerals officiated in a massive blank-lined volume bound for such a purpose (perhaps thinking that by writing names in a book, I might grant them immortality), but I have long since abandoned the practice. I have lost count of how many times I have stood behind podiums or beside coffins pronouncing hope that we are presiding not over an end, but an endless beginning. Reciting dog-eared scriptures for the comfort of those lagging behind in the run to see Jesus, I sincerely deliver discourses on the eternal, but always with a twinge of wonder. Can such platinum hope prove true? Will I one day blink in death only to find myself transfigured? Is it possible that my own gray horizon might yield to light grander than anything I’ve read about or imagined? Mystery invokes exploration. Do not consider me a skeptic; instead, number me among those who cannot honestly declare we have no questions, but journey with confidence that we are embraced by the Answer. (Excerpt from Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace, by Dane Fowlkes)

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