A few weeks ago, the worldwide Church celebrated the Transfiguration, a pivotal event in the synoptic (Matthew, Mark and Luke) gospels where Jesus is seen elevated above a mountain top, between Moses and Elijah. Jesus’s face becomes bright as the sun and His clothes are white as pure light.
This event is important in the disciples’ understanding of who Jesus is, and of His glory. But, it always has me wonder a bit.
Consider this: What if Jesus always had the appearance of brilliantly radiating whiteness? What if that was and is Jesus’s persona, the way He always appears?
And what if, perhaps, the veil that covers our eyes from seeing perfectly God’s work around us was pulled back – just for a moment – from the eyes of Peter, James and John? And they, for just an instant, saw Jesus as He really is.
I have reason to wonder about that. My experience tells me that we all live with a kind of veil separating us from the very real spiritual realities that surround us. Yet, occasionally, we get a glimpse.
Such glimpses can change our view of reality. And these glimpses can reorient our thinking when we struggle to find hope in the midst of pain, or God’s will for us in the chaos of change.
A North Carolina woman writes the following about her special needs son. “Six months after my son was born, his father walked out on us. He said he just couldn’t handle it.”
“But fortunately, I did not have to do this all by myself. Everything changed when Tommy was seven. We had a day in which he acted like he was two. There had been on tantrum after another, and finally I said, ‘Tommy, I can’t take it anymore. I want you to sit in this chair and look at this window and watch for the garbage man to come. And don’t you move from there.”
“And I walked down the hall, went into the kitchen and stood in front of the sink. And I said, ‘I can’t do this. I just can’t continue.’ But, I heard something behind me, and I looked down that darkened hall, and Tommy was looking out that window, and his mouth was wide open in amazement. His mouth was wide open at the wonder of the garbage man showing up. And the sunlight shone on his face. And I looked down that hall and he looked like some kind of angel sent from God. And I was given a gift of being able to see my son the way God saw him.”
It was only glimpse, but she said it was enough. It kept her going. She cared for Tommy and loved him deeply until his death at age 19, which was far beyond his life expectation according to the doctors. She told this story after his funeral when people remarked how she could have cared for her son herself.
By the grace of God, sometimes God reaches down into your life and pulls back the veil between heaven and earth. And for that brief moment you see.