Welcome to Part 6‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is introducing us to the freewill offering of The Veil. As the LORD leads us, we will add daily free-will offerings to the bottom of this post.
-31“You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman. 32“You shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also being of gold, on four sockets of silver. 33“You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies. Exodus 26:31-33
-“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Mark 15:37-38 NIV
-“We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:13-18
– 19”Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh” Hebrews 10:19-20
My heart . . . It’s not the same as it was a few years ago when I began this journey of writing with my dear friend, Anna. And it’s definitely not the same as it was before Chronic Illness joined me several years before that.
I know the unveiling of my heart and face happened when I first began to live for Jesus all those decades ago as a little child. But what has happened since then? What has happened to change me, to transform me from glory to glory, even as illness has seemed to strip me of so much?
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
There is a process that happens as we look at Jesus. This new heart that is within us, is soft and open. But it is as we contemplate Jesus that this soft heart of Christ is uncovered in us, as the burden of our old heart of stone is lifted away. New life – God’s sure and steadfast Promise to us – is being revealed in us daily, as we are being transformed from glory to glory.
Oh how I long for that soft heart to become more visible in me.
But this journey into Chronic Illness has opened my eyes to see just how many hard and stony places have remained. Where I thought I was willing to be transformed, I have seen stubbornness and a hard-hearted turning away instead.
Perhaps you can relate?
What hope is there for us, we who are the children of rocks and gravel?
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
When I look more closely at my days, I see too often that I try to be the one to manage these days with illness. But then Jesus uncovers yet another stony area, and He shows me the truth: I cannot begin to know how to sort out which medications, which lifestyle changes, which pain relievers, and which attitudes need to be changed. Only He can lift away my heart of stone to reveal His tender heart of flesh, soft and open to His Love beneath. Only He is sufficient for such a task as this.
All these days recently, when I have felt that I am living a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” kind of existence, I take my little prednisone pill and find a measure of relief in this Rheumatoid Arthritis roller coaster. But then as the relief wears away, and nighttime approaches, the pain and the swelling cause me to feel “ugly and pitiful” as I realize that the RA medications are doing very little to help this disease. Every night it’s the same, and I hear myself crying out to Him, “Jesus I need You!” again & again.
But as I offered up those stones in my heart, I heard Him whisper:
“My daughter, you’ve had it all topsy-turvy. I look at your “nice days” and see your flesh taking over, as you try to get by on your own. But those night-times, when you feel so ugly, those are the moments when you depend fully on me: your true sufficiency. I see no fault in you as you lean on me. You are beautiful to me.”
And the rocks rolled away as the glory of the face of my Jesus shone fully on me. I felt the glory of that lifted veil, I knew He was transforming me yet again to look more like my King.
The very breath of God is breathing inside of my weakened prednisone-medicated systems.
And I am alive in HIM.
In this place of anger, grieving, and lamenting of chronic illness, Jesus is meeting me with HIS own dear Words of comfort, lifting my burdens from me. He is bringing His transformation to me, to conform me to His own likeness, in ways that I cannot even fully comprehend.
For, my face is ever unveiled before Him–fixing my gaze on HIM. And that true face is not the face that has always felt lacking in some sense, nor the face that feels even more marred now because of these diseases. For, it is His face reflected in my own that lies open and uncovered in His presence.
2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
For, He is laying my weakness bare, not to condemn me, but to lead me into open and honest laments before Him, so that He might lift the weight of my burdens from me by the power of His Word to me. My weakness is a gift to remind me who and whose I truly am. To remind me that I may always draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with my heart sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and my body washed with pure water.
For, I have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh. He is my great priest over the house of God. (Hebrews 10:19-23).
Would you pray along with Anna and I today?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Our hearts are utterly broken before You here, as we praise You for the way You have opened before us. Thank You that You are the WAY, the truth and the life!
Thank You for being such a loving creator, such an amazing potter. We confess that we have been that clay, that cries out on your potter’s wheel, “Why did You make me like this?”
Oh, but Father, thank You for sending Your own son, Jesus, to bear the weight of all that sin has marred and destroyed in this world. Thank You, Jesus, for taking up all of our diseases and imperfections and nailing them to YOUR cross. Thank You that because of Your death on the cross, the curtain in the temple was torn, and we have access to Your most holy place.
We come under Your cross now, we receive Your authority and Your healing from all guilt and shame. Thank You that by Your blood – the blood of the spotless Lamb – we now stand blameless before You with unveiled faces and hearts, reflecting Your beautiful face and soft heart of flesh into this world, even as you continue to transform us, ever more each day, to look more like You.
Embolden each one of us to glory in our weakness, in our want of strength, suffering, calamity, frailty and illness, so that the power of Christ – His breath of resurrection life – might rest upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9). Awaken not just us to that new resurrection life in Your Son, but many more through us, as You lead us into open and honest laments.
Speak Your precious Word into our open and honest laments, by the poweer of Your holy breath, as we stand before You with unveiled faces in Your glorious Presence. Persuade us to put our faith, our confidence and trust, in You from moment to moment. Perfect Your resurrection power in us. Lean us upon Your sure and steadfast Word to us, in and through our weakness, by the power of Your Holy Spirit at work in us.
We lift our hearts of praise to You alone now.
In the name of Jesus, we pray,