The Back of God

Had I passed by You unaware?

Janell Downing / 1.18.23

While my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen. (Ex 33:22-23)

Tell me your will God.
I was told you were like a watchmaker
Us down here
You up there
Twisting, tightening and replacing.

Do the will of God and you’ll be happy
They said
I just want You to be happy
I said.

I didn’t know
All that time fretting
About my life,
All that time demanding
To see your face.
I didn’t know your glory was passing by
In all those moments
In the cleft of a rock.
I accused you for the darkness
The thorns and monotony.
All those moments
In the shelter of Your hand
All those moments
Of glory.

That time I spent
Wringing out purpose
Twisting out liquid productivity
Only to be left with a puddle of
Hurry and harm.

Had I passed by You unaware?
Had I passed by Your sorrow and suffering?
Unable to gaze
I hid my face.
Unlike your mother who held Your eyes even in the face of torture and death
Even when others turned their faces away
In shame.
In shame and nakedness,
You did not.

All I saw then
Was your back.
Your wounded hand covers me.
All I see now
Is your back.
Your gaze pierces.
And all I will ever know
Is the glory of You
Passing by.

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3 responses to “The Back of God”

  1. Sean says:


  2. Bert Cloud says:

    Oh my!

  3. Chuck Bridges says:

    …..then she asked “who touched me?”…….

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