My son, Josh, and his fiancé, Haley, asked me to perform their wedding. I’d done hundreds of weddings, but never one of my children. I can remember how the anxiety of that day brought confusion. I would lay down my Bible and forget where I laid it. I finally gave it to Dennis Rice, our sound technician, and asked him to give it back to me just before the ceremony. Sometimes experiences, good and bad, bring confusion.
You may be confused about your Christian life. Life is more complicated that you expected. Maybe you don’t understand why things are happening to you. It just doesn’t make sense.
Jesus took three of His disciples into a supernatural experience that caused much confusion in their understanding of who He is. But they came out of it with better picture of Jesus.
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone… (Luke 9:28-36)
What confuses believers?
While the disciples were asleep, Jesus’ body changed to display His glory with Moses and Elijah. Peter, caught in surprise, wanted to build tabernacles (buildings) for each of them. He didn’t know what else to say. But after a cloud surrounded them all, Jesus was alone with His normal look. Was Jesus different? Only in appearance.
Don’t miss the glory.
One of the interesting phrases used is “when they were awake, they saw his glory.” We miss so much of the glory of Jesus in the experiences of life because our minds are asleep. We fail to perceive Jesus in our circumstances. Certain things are liable to keep our minds asleep: routine, busyness, prejudice, expectations, mental laziness, love of ease. Don’t miss seeing the supernatural glory of God in all your experiences.
Mountains can be confusing.
Peter, James and John had a ‘mountain-top’ experience. It was so good they wanted to build a tabernacle and just stay there. But about the time they recognized what they were experiencing, it was over. Life went back to ‘normal’ but it would never be the same. Jesus couldn’t stay on the mountain because it would have avoided the cross.
You can’t stay on the mountain.
It would be nice if life went according to plan. But it doesn’t. Rather than trying to find a place of peace and calm, why not jump right in to the mess surrounding you and see if Jesus will do something miraculous through you? We all want to stay on the mountain, but it’s in the valleys that things grow. Winston Churchill once said, “Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.”
Experiences can be confusing.
As wonderful as mountaintop experiences are, they are not the basis for a consistent Christian life. That can only come through the Word of God. That is why the Father said, “Hear Him!” Peter made this same emphasis on the Word in 2 Peter 1:16-21.
… we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son… We have also a more sure word of prophecy… no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:16-21)
God’s Word is more sure than any experience.
In effect, what God was saying to Peter, and what Peter is saying to believers today, is that listening intently to Jesus and following God’s Word is more important than trying to achieve a mountaintop experience with God. Your personal ‘transfiguration’ comes from an inner renewal (Romans 12:1-2) and that comes from the Word (2 Cor. 3:18).
If you’re having a confusing experience, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I learning about God?
- What can help me help others?
- What does God’s Word say about this?
If life is confusing, be encouraged. Soon the cloud will lift and you will see clearly. God has something to teach you.