Imagery of the Glory of the Lord

Did you think I had forgotten you?

Don't worry, I'm still here... I've just been on a bit of a hiatus from writing. The funny thing is, I kept trying to justify this hiatus by telling myself, and others, that it was because I was focusing on building relationships face to face. When in actuality, I was at a dead sprint running from all things that cause conviction. I had started to drift again, I don't think it was intentional on my part. I think I just started allowing everything else to be an idol. My job owned me. My bills, my timelines, my home, my car, my friends, and my goals that I was convinced I would achieve only through hard work (on my own, mind you) consumed me. There wasn't any time left after all of those things were attended too. If I am completely vulnerable, as I promised I would be on this blog, I left no time for Jesus. I am the only one at fault for this, I was just so..... tired. I was tired of trying to maintain things, and even though I'm always telling other people our strength comes from The Lord, I wasn't listening to myself. So I just ran.... and I ran... and I ran which made me more and more tired. In the last month I have dealt with every emotion possible, and it all accumulated to a meltdown two weeks ago during first service.

I was sitting in the back row, next to my parents at CCC during first service. Looking back the entire thing was completely a God moment. First off, because I usually am at the church for 2nd Service and then later that night for Youth Group, lately I haven't been getting up for 1st service, the fact that I did was the start of some awesome things God was going to do for me. The songs that morning during worship were right on point. I started to feel the weight and stress of everything from the last month was too heavy and I couldn't hold it anymore. Then, right before we started the last song, they mentioned that if anyone would like to come to the alter and lay it all before The Lord they were welcome too. We started to sing Rescue, and I looked over at my Dad and saw the tears streaming down his face. I could see the weight of the world lifting from his shoulders. His breathing was different, as though he was relieved from the pressure and pain. I could tell he was thinking about John, one of his best friends who passed away a few weeks ago. It was in that moment that I decided to go forward, to pray for Pops. However, what I didn't know, was that going forward wasn't just for my Dad, it was for me as well. I don't allow myself to be humbled and taken to my knees before The Lord as often as I used too... but that Sunday morning I couldn't stand up under the weight of the last month any longer and I collapsed. I bowed my head and I cried out to God to be rescued from the anger, the pain, the sadness, the loneliness, the misdirection, and the lack of motivation. I asked for forgiveness for running from God, for not creating time for Him. I laid it all down on the alter that morning.

And as always, My Rescuer was there to pull me from the depths. Except, God didn't just rescue me, He restored me. The last two weeks I have had conversations that have done nothing but affirm the work that God is doing in my heart. Everything from conversations during morning runs with dear friends to phone calls with people I hardly know have been completely God breathed. I was in awe of what He was doing to help me feel restored in Him. Next thing I knew, it was the end of the week... Friday afternoon I hopped in the Jeep and headed down to Spring Hill Camps for the college age retreat. Top down, wind in my face, not a care in the world, I was ready for some relaxation and some fun. This retreat was planned to be a kickoff for the college aged ministry, I was just there to help. It was just supposed to be a weekend to get to know some of the college students in our church. For me, it ended up being so much more than that. After arriving to the camp, and driving around a few times (I may or may not have gotten a little lost...) I parked the Jeep by the entrance to help direct the rest of our group where to go (You know, because if someone as directionally intelligent as me could get lost, everyone else was in trouble...ha). I knew I had a little time to wait before anyone arrived, so I grabbed the little pocket sized Bible out of my glove box and started to flip through it. I turned to Ezekiel and realized I had never read the book of Ezekiel all the way through, in fact, I knew virtually nothing of what this book contained. So I started reading, and decided over the next few weeks I would walk through this book and see what I could learn. I mean, from the very beginning, during Ezekiel's "inaugural vision" (my Bible gives cool headlines), the way that the Spirit of The Lord appears to Ezekiel during this vision is so mind-blowing that I've read and re-read it at least a dozen times since that Friday.

In fact, I don't usually do this... but I'm going to copy and paste it here:

"As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber.[d] From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, except that each had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
10 Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. 11 Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12 They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
13 The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. 14 And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning.
15 As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. 16 The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it.17 The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. 18 The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around.19 When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too. 20 The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. 21 When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. 22 Spread out above them was a surface like the sky, glittering like crystal. 23 Beneath this surface the wings of each living being stretched out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 As they flew, their wings sounded to me like waves crashing against the shore or like the voice of the Almighty[e] or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. 25 As they stood with wings lowered, a voice spoke from beyond the crystal surface above them. 26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27 From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me."

There aren't even words to describe what an amazing description this is. Up to this point in reading, all I knew about Ezekiel is that he's a Hebrew Prophet, I did a little research and found that Ezekiel means "God will strengthen" and I would imagine that having the Spirit of the Lord reveal himself to you in the way God revealed himself to Ezekiel would surely strengthen even the weakest of souls. It's such a vivid and beautiful image that Ezekiel paints from his vision. However, personally it's one of the last lines that I love the most "This is what the glory of the LORD looked like to me". You see, throughout scripture the Glory of the Lord looks different to many different people. For me, recently, the glory of the Lord as come in the form of the community I belong too, my small group, my friends, my family. I came to the realization this morning that I have been praying for 25-foot doves, for the Spirit of the Lord to come riding in on a chariot of fire, just like Ezekiel saw. God doesn't do things the obvious way though. No, God doesn't always reveal Himself to us in huge, billboard-esque images. Sometimes, God reveals himself and rescues us in the quiet. It's better that way.

Grace and Peace