The Presence of God-For Today, Not Just In Eternity

 

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Santo Cerro–La Vega, Dominican Republic

One day this life is going to be finished, ended, run out. It will be over. Completed. The end will be the beginning. We will finally see Jesus. It couldn’t possibly ever get better than that. Except for the fact that we will be spending the rest of our eternal lives in His presence, His overwhelming fullness, His breath-taking beauty, His unending love, His deep joy. With Him.

When this day comes, the deep questions of our souls will be forever silenced. No more will we doubt God’s love. No more will we ride the waves of our waning feelings, wondering if God is really for us. If He could possibly know all there is to know about us, and still fully forgive and love us—all the way into eternity. We will not wonder these things anymore, because we will be experiencing the love of Christ in ways that will leave us in awe of Him.

He won’t have to continually tell us of His love, as we will be continually living in it. We won’t need letters from Him, reminding us of His greatness, His beauty, His worth. We will be living with Him and seeing Him with unhindered eyes. No more cracked, dirty mirrors. No more veils and curtains obstructing our view of Him. No more sin tainting our vision of Him. We will see Him as He truly has been, is, and forever will be.

That will be the true definition of perfection. Nothing could ever compare to that. Ever.

But…

That incredible but.

Not just then. Now.

I don’t want to wait until King Jesus returns or I die to really experience all that He is. I long for, desire, and ache for Him in the here and now. I need Jesus today. Not in one year or fifty years. If I simply wait for His Father’s house to be with Him, I will never even make it home. This is not a relationship to save for later—like something you reheat in the microwave a day or two later. This is God, we’re talking about! And waiting for heaven to taste and see if He’s really that good will never do.

Sometimes, we can long for Heaven as an absence from the anguish of this world and totally miss Jesus. When our version of eternity is centered on us, Jesus simply becomes an afterthought. We read verses like John 16:33 and become fixated on the trouble found in this world. Oh yeah…Jesus has overcome the world. Woot! Heaven’s going to be great—no more troubles.

Uh, maybe that’s not the full point in Jesus’ words? Before He even mentions conquering the world and all the trials associated with it, He says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.”

Some of the things Jesus was telling the disciples about in His final major conversation with them, before He would go to His death were centered on: being a servant, trusting in Him, abiding in Him, the great gift of the Holy Spirit, persecution, joy in Him, and encouragement to ask Him for things in His name. Surrounding all of this is the overwhelming presence of His great love for them—and us.

Jesus tells his followers to ask that their joy may be full. His is a joy that is to be experienced now, not just in His home. “In that day, you won’t ask me for anything” (16:23), because there will be nothing more to ask for, as Jesus will be the final, full, complete, everlasting Answer.

His peace and joy are for us then. But they are also for us now.

I don’t want to fritter my life away on insignificant, selfish ambitions in pursuit of happiness here. Nor do I want to spend the last of my time down here in the angst and bitterness of this broken world, living only for the absence of pain in Heaven but completely forgetting about Jesus.

No. No, I do not want that for myself. Or any one of us. I don’t want us wasting our lives, just trying to get through them. No, no, no! We were created to be in a relationship with Jesus right now. Not just in eternity.

Right now

We can experience the greatness, majesty, beauty and wonder of God in this broken, sorrow-soaked world. We can revel in the excellences of Christ in the midst of great pain and loss. We can feel the arms of our Savior around us in times of deep loneliness. We can find His peace and joy—not in the absence of sin; but rather, in spite of sin.

It’s in the mess and beauty of this present life that I want to fully know Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:10). Not just in the future. Right now.

We can feel the warmth of His smile on our faces, feel the Father’s kiss of absolute acceptance and love for us, and delight in His songs of great joy over us (Zeph. 3:17). Right now.

Don’t wait for Heaven to experience God. Enjoy Him now. Find your joy, hope, and peace in Him.

Ask Him

Ask your Father for more of Him. That is a request He will not deny you. Nor will He make you wait until you reach His house to grant this.

Plaster your walls with His letters to you, remember His great goodness to you in the greatest gift of His Son, and continually seek His presence for the great fullness of joy found in Him (Psalm 16:11).

It’s surely in the life to come. But it is also for right here, right now.

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