“God said, ‘Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.”
Exodus 33:21-23 (MSG)
Background: The Lord is about to make a covenant with Moses. The Lord led Moses up to Mount Sinai in order to receive and chisel out the Ten Commandments. The tenderness of the Lord in these moments is so beautiful to me. Starting all the way at the beginning of chapter 33, the Lord is with Moses protecting him as He prays while, bit by bit, He reveals his perfect plan to Moses.
Lately, I have felt the Lord so intimately in His plans for my life. It’s altogether breathtaking and terrifying. However, I have learned something that everyone told me throughout college.
It is okay to not have everything planned.
I know. You have heard that every single time you start to stress about your future, about what you will do after graduation, what internship you will apply for, grad school, no grad school, etc. Truly though, college is a time to just be present, and know that God has it under control. Whatever your major, whatever your intent on the future, God has brought you to this place in your life for a reason. He is there, protecting you and surrounding you with his goodness.
Just like Moses, we will not be able to directly see God’s glory. However, we can see the remnants of His presence as He passes by. As we are waiting for the big reveal of His plan, we are covered by His hand. He may bring us to a completely different place than we wanted to go. We may be in a cleft of rock, stuck in our journey. All the while, God’s presence is passing over us preparing the way we are to go.
Your plans, while they may give us comfort, are nothing compared to what God’s plan is for you. For those that are like me, that is a terrifying thought. I love to plan, to the point that I panic when I don’t have an idea of what’s next on the agenda.
I get frustrated when I know the Lord is keeping His plans from me. I want to see His glory. I want to know the purpose in His presence. Not later on, but right this second. I am impatient and stubborn. The great thing about Moses? He was impatient, too. He demanded the Lord show His presence to Him. Instead of just blowing Moses off, the Lord reassures Moses. “And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,’ He said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (vs.19-20). He was protecting Moses, and He is protecting you. There are so many reasons we don’t know His plan. For me, I know I would mess everything up if I know what was actually happening.
If I knew what the Lord was planning this whole time, I wouldn’t have come back to North Carolina. I wouldn’t have opened my mind to the idea of being in this place again. If I knew the plans, I would have told the Lord that we were going to the west coast, and never looking back. However, I was covered perfectly with His hand, so that when it was removed, I could see that He had blessed my situation, and remnants of His glorious presence remain.
It is a beautiful thing to feel His presence, but while you are waiting for that time, have peace. As He told Moses, “‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (vs.14)
Be thankful that you do not have to plan your life. Be thankful that the Lord holds you under His hand until it is your time to see what He has marvelously crafted for you. Be thankful that you, yes YOU, are so significant to the King.
-JesseRuth Parrish // @parrish.jesseruth