By Lisa Huddleston
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
A dear friend called this morning as she drove to her job teaching math and science at a local yeshiva in her New Jersey community. She and I have been friends for over 23 years and even though we have not seen each other for nearly ten of those years, we still have a close bond that picks up right where we left off whenever we have an opportunity to talk. The reason I am sharing this personal bit of information today is that my friend called to tell me once again how often she has been thinking of me. She has called me at least three other times this school year to tell me the same thing, and every time we end the conversation we both find ourselves moved to tears. She because she sees God in the people with whom she works, orthodox Jews who dare to let the words they study affect how they live. Me because I am so astonished that she thinks she sees the same faith and obedience at work in me. Both of us may have difficulty putting into words the reasons for our tears. I know that I long to be what she thinks I am, and I leave each conversation with an awareness of my unworthiness.
Yet, she sees something in me. A reflection of his glory? Oh, I hope so; but, the truth is that so often I am just as unsure as she. I would like to be able to answer her many questions with absolute conviction as her new friends do. She says they cite the location of this verse or that and rest in total assurance that the law says thus and that settles that. She feels drawn to that certainty. But I am afraid I only muddy the water of her new clarity by seeing the law through the unveiled eyes of freedom. She has walked with me as I’ve swung back and forth in heartfelt and sometimes misguided efforts to find the narrow way. From legalistic regulations regarding everything from clothing to entertainment to bouts of outright rebellion veiled by a cloak of Liberty, I have run the gamut in the years she has known me. Yet, she still sees something in me.
She says I am educated in the Bible. I tell her that the more I study the less I know, and she chuckles a little. Isn’t that the way it is? Yet, she won’t let me go. She’s got me on the hook and no matter how hard I squirm, the connection is undeniable. I am forced to agree. There is a reason that she thinks of me every day she heads to work. And that connection is Yahweh! He is Lord. He is Lord of those she sees at her school, wild little boys who automatically think of the Flood when she is teaching about tectonic plates and the shape of the land masses on the Earth. Of course, I see it, too. The same mind of God is at work in me. Even when I muddy the way, his light shines through the murky freedom of my flooding thoughts just as it shines through the “Be ye holy” words of the law. With unfading glory and undeniable truth. Yahweh is Lord!
A smile mingles with the tears. I am thankful for my friend who sees the light of God in his chosen people. Her recognition humbles and challenges me and spurs me on. But to what? Fair question, but my answers are still being formed. Transformed along with my heart from one degree of glory to another. I pray that because of this transformation, which comes from the Lord and not from me, my friend will one day join the family. After all, that’s what she sees—a family resemblance—as we are made over in the image of God, we can’t helping looking more like him. I pray that one day her veil will also be lifted and that she will look into the face of Jesus with freedom. Until then, I am thankful and fearful for the opportunity to represent him as she looks at me. Please, Lord, help me to do it well.