Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I Long to See Him


I Thess.4: 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

It seems in these days of self help and "how to" Christianity that these words mean precious little to the church. Several years ago I actually heard one of the property heretics say “The only people who want to go to heaven are those who are broke!” I can hardly imagine such a sentiment, and it not only exposes a demon of greed and self righteousness, but it reveals that this man does not know who Jesus is. Who but a lost man could ever, EVER, compare what this world has to offer with the glory of being in the presence of the Lord Jesus?

Phil.1: 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Paul did not just say it would be better to go and be with Christ. He said it would be far better. Why would Paul say such a thing? Because Paul knew Christ and His surpassing glory. He did not mention golden streets or gates of pearls or even the angelic hosts. No, Paul’s heart was to be with Jesus. And that must be the heart of every born again believer. But I fear we have lost the unquenchable anticipation that longs to be with Christ. The things of this world have captured our hearts and we now recognize the catching away of the believers as a church doctrine rather than a personal culmination of His gracious redemption.

Most of the church could not care less about this catching away. And even those who believe in it would much rather argue about when it will take place rather than salivate at its eternal implications and glory. Per-trib or mid-trib or post- trib are the usual suspects when any discussion of this catching away takes place. The post tribulation adherents suggest that the pre tribulation people will be unprepared for enduring the tribulation, but their lives are no different than any other believers. This is not an issue where you do much study so you can be correct in your eschatological chronology and exude smugness.

This event, clear in Scripture yet filled with mystery, is the beginning of a majestic plan which includes us. Jesus loves us so much that He has planned to come and get the remnant along with all those who went before. But all these pictures that show planes without a pilot and cars without a driver miss the very essence of this teaching. We will be caught up to be with the Risen Christ! And this gathering will not be some gathering around the piano and singing the old hymns. This ushering into His presence will be filled with a glory that is without imagery in this present life.

We will be changed, and we then will be able to experience eternal emotions that are centered upon Him and not the self serving emotions we so often displayed on earth. Worship will not be centered around music although there will be music, but our worship will be transfixed upon the glory of the Lamb Who was Slain. What lips can do that justice? What emotions can touch that scenario? Just to lay our spiritual eyes upon Him who was dead and now lives forevermore will be a gift of grace that is more than we ever deserved.

But the church has lost the vision of the Great Shepherd. We speak about liberals and nations and taxes and clothes and new buildings and great music and all the rest. But where in God’s Holy Name is the obsession we should have with Him? Where are the elongated times during the day where we remove our spiritual sandals and sit at His feet and consume His Words and worship His Being? In truth, where is the Lord Jesus in our lives?

Yes He is in our doctrines, and His name appears in our songs, but does He hold the place of Lordship in our daily lives? And of what importance is it when He comes in the prophetic timetable? That is already set and no man can change anything. The great truth, the surpassing glory, is that Jesus IS coming! Oh my. How have we lost the reality of that truth? That alone should shake our beings and cause us to keep our hearts pure before Him and completely resistant to the alluring influences of this world. Jesus is coming, and if we dwell upon the quintessence of that spectacular event we must be transformed.

He who created Jupiter; He who made the Sun; He who knows every atom; He who knows all thoughts; He who created space itself; it is the Sovereign Monarch, Ruler of all there is, who so desire us to be with Him that He will come for us. Can your heart even contain such a thought? There are times I do not even desire to be with myself, and yet the Holy One desires my company? Who can really understand such a Being and such a love? And when we stand before Him His redemptive power and His eternal love will overwhelm our beings in ways we have never known.

No longer we will be harnessed to our doctrines, for now those truths have been transformed into waves of power and glory. Our lips then can only speak of His glory and they can only worship Him. This transformation from the temporal into the eternal will happen in a moment of time. The Greek word for moment used by Paul comes from the word "atom" and is actually used to indicate a particle of time so small and so quick that it cannot be divided. And in an instant we will be changed from this wretched body of sin into one made like unto His. Again, who can know such a thing? To think that I will be like Him is beyond the imagination and is way beyond what I could have ever deserved.

But even in the light of this foretaste of glory divine the church is still in Martha’s kitchen attempting to clean the dishes of this fallen earth. When was the last time you paused and meditated upon your Redeemer? When was the last time you were moved to tears that was not elicited by a sad story or an animal’s death? When have you bowed your head and your heart and wept quietly in His matchless presence? Have you through prayer been so captivated by His powerful presence that you were overwhelmed and lost all sense of time? How much glory and love have we forfeited because we have become part of the fast paced culture and thereby have very little room for Him?

This event commonly called the “rapture”, will indeed be the greatest event any believer will ever experience. How many of us have watched a Passion Play at church? Or how many of us have seen the life of Jesus portrayed somehow on the television or in a theatre? And even though they usually take some license with all the facts, how many of us have been moved to tears? Have you ever been moved emotionally just by hearing a song about Jesus or heard a message lifting Him up? Well all those times will be completely irrelevant memories when we see the Risen Christ and the glory which emanates from His being and illuminates the corridors of heaven.

The rapture of all true believers both living and dead will be an incredible spectacle culminating with millions of blood washed saints worshiping Him who they have seen for the very first time. The colossal reality of everything we believed will only then take hold without doubt or shadow of turning. Yes, all the imagery which we allowed to enter into our minds has given way to the surpassing reality of His incandescent glory. Can you even think upon such a thought with trembling and a sense of awe? He not only has come for us, He has brought us forever into His presence. But think on this as well. We have so often let Him down. We have sometimes sinned in thought, word, and deed. We have not prayed as we should have. We have ignored the Spirit’s prompting to witness sometimes. Yes, and Jesus knows all of that and more, and yet that divine heart of love and the utter expansiveness of His redemption still comes to claim us as His very own!

Oh what a Savior! Oh what love is this? Let my mind be consumed with Him and Him alone. I am prone to wander and yet my Lord never is distracted for an instant and His love has never wandered a moment from me. I should never have been offered salvation, and even when He saved my soul I should never been allowed an entrance into the shimmering spectacle of His risen presence which no man can know and no lips can describe. I cannot tell you how undone I feel when I think of Him and when I think of me. This journey which began in 1975 for me has had its ups and downs because of me, but it has never lost its sense of wonder. I long to see Him.

I could have done more but I long to see Him. I should have been more surrendered but I long to see Him. I could have been a greater witness but I long to see Him. I could have prayed more but I long to see Him. I have sinned but I long to see Him. I have been selfish but I long to see Him. I have preached His gospel thousands of times but I long to see Him. And what imprisons me with amazement is that He longs for me. Oh my…oh my.

I long to see Him.


Cherie c. said...

If you were to take a picture of me with Jesus, what would be seen in the print would be Jesus next to muck and mire.

Yet as undeserving as I feel, I cannot wait until I see Him. I want to sing, and dance, and just bask in the thought of Him. A love undefined by human ability. The song It Is Well With my Soul comes to mind.

I also am afraid of it too. I have disappointed Him, and while trapped in this flesh, I fight very hard not to, but I succumb to disobedience, and I hate it when that happens.

I do take time to think on Jesus, and sometimes it elicits a smile, and other times I break under the weight of who I am and Who He Is and I cry.

Just this Monday I sat for a few moments to think about this very event, and how I would react. It startled me, and I wonder if that is a bad thing. I tried to compare it to how I felt about some major events that affected all of us, but could find none so great.

It is hard to describe. It is both beautifully overwhelming, and yet it also causes a bit of angst. How can I look Him in the eye being so wonderful, and I being so awful? How can you do it? It is so difficult to accept His Love and Grace when I know I do not deserve it. I want to somehow make it up to Him, but I know I can never do that, and I feel bad! How can one not feel the sting of tears as they well up in your eyes when you try to stand next to Him. Even now I feel the sting of tears starting and I feel bad and happy at the same time. How can this be? I do not understand it, I only live it.

Thanks Pastor Rick, this will be with me all day, if not for a few days to come. It has been on my mind anyway and your post has brought it to the forefront again. Not a bad thing. I am not complaining, just funny how the Spirit works. He must want me to ponder this in my heart a bit longer. I yield to the Spirit. Besides, I don't mind at all thinking about Jesus, who does?

Love to All my dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Ps.73-25 whom do I have in heaven but You?, all human
Sentiment Will be gone, it won't be Moses, David, the prophets, apostles , family , love ones we will desire to see.
Description of heaven is wonderfully beyond our minds to wrap around. It's HIM, the One who was dead and who rose
To Life by the power of God! Seated on His throne, heaven is nice but if Christ wasn't there then I would want to go where He Is. Whom do I have in heaven? Know-one but THEE.

Anonymous said...

The concept of actually being with Jesus is so hard to comprehend. I want to worship Him in heaven like you, Rick & Cherie.

Once I had a dream in which I was tortured to death because I was a Christian. I died and was greeted in Heaven by representatives, met God (who looked like a businessman) and I volunteered for kitchen duty. Then there was choral practice for those interested. In the town square was a crystal dragon that was raised at a specific time. But I was in a cult at the time I had this dream & I don't think it (the dream) was from The Lord. My dream was like some expensive Hollywood inspired film. After I awoke I wanted to "die" because I wanted to be in heaven. Thank God , Jesus had mercy on me to lead me out of that situation.

Anonymous said...


I've longed to see Him at times too. But then life happens and the energy is drained and the joy and hope gets drained as well. Sickness just makes me unable to even think of the reality of Him and His glory. When I'm so raggedy Ann limp with no energy, I just want to hide in the shadow of His wings and close my eyes.

Some day, hopefully, I'll have the energy to think beyond and feel that unsurpassed joy.

Thank you for reminding us about this wonderful verse.

Reine Gnade said...

Cherie, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of! Absolutely nothing! Simply remind yourself how so very much Lord Jesus delights in the well-being of His servants!

What's happened in the past is the past. We've got new joys and adventures aplenty to look forward to. God's word to us to rejoice in the Lord always! Truly the companionship of Jesus is our highest joy.

How blessed we are to know Him. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, Your wonderous presence, not the grave, is our goal and destination; Oh, holy healing voice of the Lord! Our blessed hope, the giver of blessed rest, forever shall those who love you praise Thee.

And loving compassionate Lord God, usher in the day when our faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord Jesus shall descend triumphantly in glory, for truly truly then, it will be well with the soul of all true believers.

Friends, Our beautiful God is our rewarder. What is to fear in being rewarded?
Be very encouraged for He doesn't say that a true believer is awful. He says that they are good and faithful!

Our praise is for Christ who has regarded our helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for our soul.

Our sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! Our sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and we bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Rejoice for soon Jesus our Prince of Peace will attend our way and sorrows like sea billows will no longer roll!

Anonymous said...

Awe what a wonderful Savior. Just today as I pulled in from work, this song came on and I sat in the car with tears flowing down my face. I long to see the One who longs to see me. Thank you for taking the time to write this particular blog.

He laid aside all the heavenly glory
To be God's word in the image of man
All to show me that grace, faith, and mercy
Was the mystery and wonder
Of eternity's plan
And then He carried my sin onto Calvary
And clearly having no guilt of His own
He was nailed to a cross of my making
But He used it to bridge ore' the void to God's throne

No wonder they call Him Savior
No wonder they call Him Lord
Jesus, God's choicest favor
Cost more than this world could ever afford
He ransomed His life for my pardon
Sin's price paid in full not in part
No wonder they call Him Savior
Jesus the Lamb of God
No wonder they call Him Savior
Jesus the Lamb of God

I wasn't there, when the earth was created
So I've no proof that He hung every star
But I know what my life was without Him
And the joy that was mine when He rescued my heart

Repeat Chorus