Will You Be There?
by Mary Alice McGinnis
Have you ever gotten an invitation to an exciting event? And then the next question you asked was, “Who will be there?” You really, really wanted to go, but you did not want to go alone. You may have even reached out to a friend or invited a family member to go with you. How did you feel if you discovered that no one else you knew was going to be there?
My parents were married for 71 years. For the last several years of their lives, they lived in an assisted living facility which offered events throughout the week. Singing groups, Bible studies, exercise classes, crafts and card playing. And at each event, my parents were always there together.
After my dad passed away, to say that my mom grieved and experienced extreme loneliness would be a dreadful understatement. She was inconsolable.
In the years following Dad’s death, we would encourage Mom to get out and start attending some of the special events again. We even used the promise of ice cream and cookies at the weekly ice cream social to try to lure her. But her teary-eyed response was always the same. It was as if half of herself - even part of her own identity died right along with him. Nothing felt the same without him.
In today’s reading, Moses and the children of Israel were on the precipice of entering into the Promised Land, the land God had promised would flow with milk and honey. For 40 years, God led them with His Presence through a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. Moses often went to meet with God. Upon his return to the people, an afterglow of God’s radiant glory would reflect from Moses’ face. The brilliance of God’s reflected glory was so bright, the people pleaded with Moses to cover his face with a veil.
Preceding today’s verses, in Exodus 33: 2 and 3, God tells Moses:
“I will send an angel before you (vs 2) . . . Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you (vs 3) . . .”
Moses had cultivated a deep intimate relationship with God.
Moses basically asks God, “If I have found favor with You, who will go with me?”
Even after 40 years of being faithfully led by God, Moses was not satisfied. He does NOT want God’s blessing without God's Presence. He wanted to know Him MORE.
“If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.”
God assures Moses that He will indeed go with them.
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
But Moses audaciously begged God for even MORE.
“If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
When God assures Moses once again that He will indeed do the very things he asked.
But Moses still asks for MORE.
“Now show me Your glory.”
Moses’ desire to know God, led him to desire MORE of God. Where is God leading you in your life? How does knowing He is already there give you peace and comfort?
Has your desire to know God started to wane? Deep down, do you long to be closer to Him? What obstacles are standing in your way?
How can realizing His goodness and His glory is so vast and brilliant - far beyond all we can ask or imagine - ignite that flame of deep desire to KNOW HIM MORE?
Dear Lord, help me to desire more of YOU. I what to KNOW You God. Teach me Your ways. Help me live daily in Your presence. Meet the deepest longings of my heart with the fullness of Your presence. I know nothing else will ever satisfy me. And Lord, make my face shine too with the brilliance of Your reflected glory.