Torn and Ripped

10:27 AMHeather

"Let your mess become your message! I definitely feel like I am at a place where the veil has been torn on a new area of my life and though I am terrified I am seeing things more clearly than ever! So thankful for the ways the Lord speaks to us through our trials."

This was a friend's Facebook status last week.  And I was blown away as my mind started spinning with a new and fresh perspective on trials.  A perspective that I had never considered.  

The veil. When God gave instructions to the Israelites on how to build the tabernacle, there in the desert, He had them put a curtain, or a veil, between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. A priest entered the Most Holy Place just once a year.  He was to enter only after a rope was placed around his waist.  That way, if he were to die from entering that sacred, most intimate dwelling place of God, then he could be pulled out without anyone else entering it.

So, in other words, that Most Holy Place was not to be taken lightly.  It was serious business.  It was indeed, most holy.  The pinnacle of intimacy and meeting with God.  Of sitting in His presence.  In Old Testament times, this was not a place open to the masses.  

Of course, Jesus changed all of this. During one of the rare times when I actually put my stubborn, know-it-all teenage agenda aside and actually listened to my Dad preach, I heard an Easter sermon.  He talked about those details of the crucifixion that we tend to gloss over.  In my entire lifetime in the church, I could not remember hearing these details.  Of all the amazing and remarkable things that happened in the moment that Jesus died.

 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.  Matthew 27: 50-53

I don't know about you, but there's lots of Biblical passages where I just want to have a sit down with God himself and get a better explanation.  The earth shook!  The rocks split!  The tombs broke open and dead people came out and were raised to life?!  They went and appeared to many?

Hold on.  HOLD UP!  Tell me more, Matthew!  Tell me more!  This seems like a rather significant and noteworthy event to me. I want more details. I can't wait to find out in heaven what kind of reaction they got--those resurrected people who appeared in the city.  What was that like?  It's just captivating to my imagination to consider.

However, this was not the detail where my Dad focused his sermon.  Darn!  But, he did offer some great insight on the fact that the veil was torn.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two.  From top to bottom.  In other words, God was clearly responsible.  Because first of all, it was a very thick curtain.  Not something that needed constant repair.  And second of all, it was tall.  It was not easy to reach the top.  But, God himself, in a very symbolic move, tore that curtain from top to bottom.

This was the point.  When Jesus died, He made a way for everyone--all people--to move from holy places to the MOST HOLY PLACE!  The invitation was open.  The law was abolished.  Grace stepped in and changed the course of mankind.  Because we no longer had to depend on a priest or ritual to allow us entry to the most holy place.  Jesus changed all that.  And God clearly and loudly declared His open door policy.  

ALL may enter the Throne Room of God and petition Him directly through prayer.  ALL may enter fellowship and intimacy in a relationship of coming to know Him and love Him because of Jesus' sacrifice.

The veil was torn. 

As my friend referenced a tough situation in her life, she was saying how a veil was being torn.

And I realized, with fresh eyes, that sometimes the loss and grief and hardship of the sacred being torn from our lives can become seasons of having a veil removed.  Sometimes, there in that painful place of feeling torn and ripped, God can use the circumstances to remove obstacles and allow us to enter the most holy places.  Not to say that the loved one who died or the finances that crashed were God's way of making us move closer to them. Rather, that He can use those circumstances to move us closer to Him.  They are opportunities to have barriers and distractions cleared that bring us to a place of closer dependence and intimacy. The torn and the ripped places can become a cleared path to run into His arms.

The veil was torn.

What veils are being torn from your lives right now?  Friendships that have been strained?  Dreams yet unfulfilled?  Loved ones losing good health? Jobs being lost?  Children bringing more difficult seasons of parenting?  Marriages seemingly breaking apart?  

We all have places in our hearts that feel torn and ripped.  We feel battered and bruised.  And we have a choice to make, there on our knees, grieving our circumstances.  We can lick our wounds and curse our God and allow bitterness and fear to run rampant.

Or we can, in a great act of courage and faith, say, "Here God.  Here.  This curtain in my life is being torn and ripped. Help me to be honest with you about how I feel.  And please allow this to clear a way to the most holy places where I may dwell closer to You."  

We can either sit in the pile of curtain remnants, or we can ask the Lord to help us move our eyes to what was behind the curtain.  What's the deeper, more intimate places He might take us through the seasons of loss and pain?  

Job knew this.  Job.  A man who faced many veils being torn from his life.  In fact, all of his curtains were ripped away.  His family.  His life stock.  His home.  His health.  He was an ordinary man who had lived his life serving God.  He was found to be blameless and upright.  God was pleased with him, as Job 1 tells us. What more could be asked of a person?

Yet there, with inexplicable grief and loss and a heart surely ripped and torn, Job did the unthinkable.  He made his choice.  He ripped his clothes and shaved his head.  And fell to his knees and worshiped God (Job 1:20-21).  He offered the sacrifice of faith, to allow all that he'd suffered to be a veil removed to a deeper place of worship.  He let his loss become a means to draw near to God.  

He endured.  He had a story to steward.  A situation to which he could respond or react.  And he sought God, even there, in his ashes. Not to say he was happy or we are to be happy when hard times come.  But, he allowed the torn places to be an opportunity to run TO God rather than to run from Him.  He was genuine with God, pouring out his heart and feelings.  Trusting God with that pain.  Seeking God through the pain.

He says this was the end result.  Of all that he'd experienced.  In all that had been ripped and torn from him.  The man who had been counted by God as upright and blameless.

My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. 
Job 42:5

Upon hearing of God, Job had chosen to be upright and blameless.  Upon all that had been ripped and torn from him, Job was able to SEE God.  As never before.  After all the tears and cries and suffering and grieving, he came to a place of realizing he'd entered the most holy place.

That which rips and tears at your heart can become a tool.  It can become a veil that is torn away, revealing a most holy place of communion with God that you've never experienced before. 

I pray that no matter what you are facing, you will be able to see God.  As never before.  And enter a most holy place of authentic worship and expression.  With the One who works all things together for your good.  Only He can take the tattered and torn to weave a new testimony of His goodness and love.  He longs to quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with singing.  There--in the torn and ripped places of your heart.  He wishes to console you and heal you and reveal Himself to you.  As you've never experienced.

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