Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who have I in Heaven but You?

Ps.73:24-26 - Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Everything is vanity and frustration of our very spirits. Solomon had everything but peace. And God’s Words continue to transcend time and generations and have arrived here in 2009 A.D. with the same truth and power as when they were spoken by Solomon and when they existed before the world were made. Temporary and fleeting peace is all that can be hoped for upon this earth. And while we so often criticize drug addicts for their attempt to gain secluded peace through narcotics, we are ourselves guilty of striving for peace through an array of earthly methods.

Especially in America we are inundated with a broad assemblage of outward amenities that promise to engender happiness and contentment. And like cotton candy in our mouths, once we grasp them they quickly dissipate and lose the luster that seemed so brilliant from afar. And many times these transient treasures rapidly become encumbrances. The new car retains its glamour for a short time and then the newness wears off as the payments continue. But like wildebeests who believe that the river is now safe even though they have just witnessed their neighbor being eaten, many forget the buyer’s remorse they had last year and hope that this time will be different.

We live in a culture that is built upon cultivating discontentment. The newest television screen, the newest cell phone, and the newest clothes are just a sampling of how the market attempts to leverage discontentment and open our wallets. And most disappointing is how God’s people have fallen into this trap and continue to pursue some of the same things as does the hopeless world. In the end, God’s people end up in debt and are unable to support God’s work as they might have.

But there is another facet of this kind of phenomenon. Those on the outside, as well as the children of professing believers, are observing and learning a fraudulent representation of the Christian faith. The church, with its massive debts both personal and organizational, is modeling a journey of faith that is consumed with this life at the expense of the real and eternal treasure. And that treasure is in part the streets of gold, and it is in part the gates of pearls, and it is in part the angelic throngs. But those are only part of the treasure’s outward chest.

The treasure is and always will be the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit through the Psalmist says, “Who have I in heaven but You!”. Would to God that all our hearts would be fully given to that emotion and that truth. What hope is there in this world? Who should we look for but the Royal Lion of Judah? Must Jesus be a part of our pilgrimage or should He be the beginning, the journey, and the end altogether? There was a time when believers used to muse about seeing the Savior one day, but now we look for things here to fill our souls. And we argue about eschatology without a hint of passion and expectancy of seeing His glorious face!?

If we do not have Jesus we have nothing. One day all things will be rolled up as a scroll and the center and focus of all creation will be the Risen Christ. And what emotions and what marvel will be sufficient when we are allowed to see Him as He is; Lord and Master, Friend and Comforter, King and Shepherd, and dead but alive. The former things will all be wiped away, so there will be no remembrance of sin. Think on that, and then wonder how will we see Him as Redeemer with no knowledge of our sins. If all our sins are both washed away and forgotten, against what backdrop can we see Him as Redeemer and Lamb?

Remove your shoes and let your mind have some slack. Jesus was the Redeemer and the Lamb before there was a creation. Those wounds are not what made Him the Redeemer, they reveal Who He always was, is, and always will be forevermore. When we are in His everlasting and manifested presence, we will be like Him. And in that eternal state knowledge and experience are one. No longer will we know in part and subsequently experience in part; we will see, know, and experience the Risen Christ in a dimension that cannot be imagined by us who remain captured in this three dimensional prison.

Let us bring our minds into focused desire and with a futuristic squint of the Spirit. There is coming a moment of glory that can only be portrayed in words that are embarrassingly limited. And I do not primarily refer to the endless expanse of what we call heaven which is God’s eternal dwelling place. The glory of such a place is beyond a mystery and beyond our imaginations. And if the dwelling place be imposing and resplendent, how much more He Who dwells therein and indeed created it? What words, what thoughts, can approach such colossal mysteries?

To gaze at a picture of thousands upon thousands of galaxies, all containing 100 billion stars, boggles the mind and gives us a perspective of the frightening grandeur we call the universe. But climb upon the knowledge of creation and lift your hearts and minds to strain with the eyes of faith, and wonder about the power of One who created this universe with a word. As I stood in the cold February nights and looked through my telescope into the heavens I imagined a Creator who was powerful, aloof, and august. What could possibly gain His interest with things on this obscure planet we call Earth? It seemed to me as impersonal as a distant star.

But the very next month I heard about Jesus. There is absolutely no way I could have blended the Creator I saw through a lens, and a person named Jesus. But such is the ministry of God’s Spirit. It suddenly and without much warning became all too real to me; that Jesus was the Creator and Redeemer. And with a burst of revelation that was given to me I realized I had found what I was searching for, and in fact, I was found by what I was looking for. Jesus was not just some man who did good and was murdered for it; Jesus was the answer to everything.

But here we are as believers and followers of Someone who we have never seen nor could see and live. But that cannot dissuade from looking for Him now and in the future. The Psalmist eliminates everything in heaven but Christ. Of course I look forward to a time where I am relieved from this body of sin I carry. I look forward to being stripped of my self righteousness. I anticipate the day where lust does not haunt me. I embrace a coming day where I love like Jesus does. I look forward to that day where I am made like Him.

But what I thirst for most is Him. What else compares to the promise of seeing and being with the One whose name I have uttered thousands of times? Yes, there will be no more sin, but what is paramount is that Jesus will be there. Since that cold night in March of 1975 I have been on a journey to be with Him. Sometimes I have stumbled on the path, and sometimes I have taken my eyes off Him and sank, but by His grace I am still on this journey. And I relish in the glory of that mystery, the mystery that His creation will be made like Him and will be allowed to experience His presence forever. I can hardly understand “forever” so how can I fully comprehend Him in all His fullness?

So as we continue one step of faith after another, let us never underestimate the impact of looking for a coming day of glory, and let the light of that day shine backward to enlighten and empower us as we head toward the
Celestial City.
And that light shines directly from the face of the
Risen Lamb of Eternal Glory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, amen! MARANATHA!