It’s a new month here at Good Word Project, and that means a new word. This new word is one that I believe will challenge and stretch us….
It has definitely challenged and stretched me.
When this word was chosen, I immediately reflected on the last time I wore a veil. No, it was not my wedding day. It was actually two years ago. While camping. (What??? I know, right?)
Our church has an entire ministry centered around camps – getting people outside of their day-to-day (and for many, their comfort zone) for one weekend to experience God in a new way or perhaps even for the first time. It’s a remarkable experience for many.
This particular camp was “Women Camp”. 1,200 women headed out for the weekend to “rough it” in the wilderness (well, depends on your idea of “roughing it”, but let’s say they encouraged us to become one with nature in more ways than one…) A large part of this weekend experience included quiet time to go off on our own to be with the Lord and just sit, journal, and pray. I was VERY much looking forward to that.
Early Saturday morning upon arriving at camp and after prayer and worship, we were handed veils and journals and told to seek space, follow the prompts, and listen for God’s voice.
I remember this day very vividly – it was an unusually warm and sunny fall day. Chair in hand, I grabbed my veil, journal, and water bottle and headed for a spot in the sun, facing the woods. I settled in, opened my journal, and followed the first prompt to put on my veil as I read through various scriptures. One of the prompts that followed was to sit quietly, veil on, and listen for God. As I further settled in, I recall sitting in my chair with a myriad of thoughts running through my mind about this veil over my head (none too Godly at this point). On one hand, I was feeling safe, secure, and covered by it. It was as if I was under my own private little tent, vulnerable if were to remove it. On the other hand, there out in the open, I felt ridiculous and uncomfortable with it on. It was unnatural. Were others still wearing theirs too? I found it was more of a distraction than a vehicle for hearing God’s voice. How ironic that this veil was “veiling” me from hearing God’s truth that afternoon!
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. – 2 Cor 3:16
I prayed away the distractions and quickly shifted my eyes right back to God. That afternoon, I discovered that one veil over my head was representative of several veils I believe we wear that keep us from clearly seeing God. Sometimes my veil is so thick I can’t see in front of me. Sometimes it’s transparent – I can see, but it’s not clear, and it’s not comfortable. Sometimes I’m depending on it as a safety net, when I know I need to take it off. All of the time, it comes between God and me, and how God wants me to see.
Veil of Bitterness
This veil is a lie that God simply cannot heal my wounds. “Most of our bitterness and anger towards others is rooted in an inability to be profoundly amazed at Christ’s love for us in our sin.” (John Piper) Deep hurt exists among many of us, and God wants to take it away. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
Veil of Circumstances
How often do I let my circumstances get in the way of seeing God? Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
Veil of Worry
I believe the reason we worry about things is because it is the only way we have to control the things we cannot control. I am way more guilty of this than I’d like to admit, though I also believe that God is the author and perfecter of our lives, and He can take that burdensome worry from us that so often stands between us and Him. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Veil of Unbelief
I can fall into the trap of believing my needs just aren’t that important. Or embracing that the God of the universe actually cares deeply about me and whatever I’m going through. I also know this could not be farther from the truth. He knows every hair on my head (Luke 12:2). The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8
Veil of Distractions
The enemy wants nothing more than to distract us from having an ongoing relationship with our Father. I recently heard Christian Author and Speaker, Lysa Terkeurst, share, “Never take your eyes off of the master, because He knows things you don’t know and sees things you don’t see.” We trust and fix our eyes on Him. I’m convinced that if we’re aware of these veils, we can be on watch for them. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
There sitting in that chair in the warm sun, I pushed through the distractions, and started journaling away. Fixing my eyes on Jesus, I started identifying lies I believed about myself and my relationship with God. I started listing the things that get in the way of God and me. Then promptly followed the crowd of women through a series of a few more prompts which ceremoniously ended in removing the veil and throwing it into a fire. Watching dozens of women throwing their veils in the fire was one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed to date. I believe there were many women that day removing veils that had been there for years, and seeing the Lord clearly for the first time. That, my friends, is freedom.
Please pray with me.
Heavenly Father, thank you that you are a groom in waiting for me and want nothing more than to remove my veil. I want to see you clearly. I know that I can only do that when I turn to you and the veil is removed. Help me in my own weakness to remove any veil I am wearing today, so that I can fix my eyes on you. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.