“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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 Cor. 3:16-18
What purposes does a veil serve? It can protect something or someone, hide something underneath or behind it, or perhaps create a fascinating mystique in whatever it’s covering.
When we “turn to the Lord” – i.e., give our lives to Him to guide, direct, protect, provide for, and empower us, “the veil is taken away.” In other words, nothing left to hide behind, serve as a protective barrier, or make us appear more fascinating! Scary, right?
But, this same veil also makes it impossible for the person behind it to see clearly what or who is in front of it. At that point protection becomes restriction, as restricted access to the veiled one restricts the access from the veiled one to the outside world. The protective barrier that keeps others at bay imprisons the one behind it. Likewise, whoever the veil is hiding finds their own vision clouded, often creating confusion instead of clarity.
In Indonesia, where we lived for five years, they have shadow puppets. The puppeteers operate them behind a thin screen to create dramas and comedy shows with each puppet representing different characters. Because of the screen, the audience can only see each character in shadow. While this is both entertaining and fascinating, it’s not complete. The audience doesn’t get to see the puppets’ features, colors, or how they’re decorated. As a result, they can’t fully appreciate each puppet. This reminds me of our lives before we get to know the Lord and He removes the veil. Either we are a shadow puppet to others, or we can only perceive life in shadow, lacking the full and clear perspective that only the Lord, in His wisdom, can give us.
Thank the Lord that in Him the veil has been removed! Now we have unhindered access to real relationships with Him and others, and the ability to think and understand clearly. We can perceive and focus on what we need to instead of going around with our heads “in a fog”.
Then, the Holy Spirit, God Himself living in the hearts of those who’ve invited Him in, gives us freedom. Freedom from the fear of man. Freedom to be open—to love and be loved—to be known for who we really are. Freedom to let others see our faults and weaknesses so they can embrace the real us. Freedom to choose right. Freedom to not have to sin. Freedom from being tied to or haunted by our messed-up past. Freedom to grow without restrictions. Freedom from any kind of barrier. Freedom to be and become who the Lord designed us to be, and to do what He designed us to do.
For my wedding day, my (now) husband and I decided to follow the tradition of him not being able to see my face until we were officially pronounced man and wife—which meant me covering my face with a veil during the entire ceremony. Oh how romantic! Oh the mystique! Oh the inability to breathe due to lack of air-flow to my lungs! Uh oh—the uncontrollable urge to cough and inability to stop due to not being able to breathe! Yes, that really happened! One groomsman had to run get me some water to stop the coughing (I was recovering from a cold, which didn’t help). Still, I stoically kept my face veiled until the appointed time. After that experience, I can totally appreciate the freedom that comes when the veil is taken away!
Once our faces have been unveiled, we can not only see life clearly, we can gaze unhindered at the Lord’s glory, able to comprehend, contemplate, and enjoy it—much the same as gazing upon a vibrant spring garden through a transparent, rather than translucent, window. And the more we behold Him, meditating on His wonderful character, the more like Him in character we become. Here’s the logic: We become what we ponder-- We ponder what we look at. For example, married couples look increasingly like each other the longer they’ve been married. They look at each other so much, and, if the marriage is full of mutual love, they take on the characteristics they keep viewing and contemplating. So it is when we contemplate the Lord in His glory—He transforms us “into His image”.
What a glorious prospect and promise, bringing joy and hope to our hearts! Don’t hesitate! Come to the unveiling—yours!