image43

Christ's Physical Presence in Our Lives

 “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:6 


Again, the psalmist wrote “You, God, are my God: earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” 


Psalm 63:1-3 Jesus said to his disciples “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”  They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t   understand what he is saying.”Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?  Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  John 16:16-20 “In a little while.” 


We’re all concerned about time in one way or another. Our lives are ruled by time schedules and the concern is how to get into these time schedules all that is of concern to “us.” And if one looks just a little closer into these concerns, one discovers that they are basically physical concerns. Two people talk over each other about their own illnesses, their own problems. What do we identify with if it is not the physical?


In fact, our flesh holds us captive. That is what sin is. If what Satan did to Eve and to Adam means nothing else to you, at least try to exist for ten minutes without some concern for yourself.  It’s impossible.  So why then were the disciples concerned about this matter of time that Jesus was mentioning? Over time, Jesus had been relating to these disciples, showing them that He had power over the physical. He healed people of diseases, gave sight to the blind, told invalids to get up and walk. And now Jesus told them He was going someplace where they couldn’t go “at this time.” Like Peter, we would respond the same, “Why can’t we go?”  In just a few simple words, Jesus explained why. “What I have to do you cannot do. Will you lay down your life for My sake?” John 13:38a. Again, think of the thought of not thinking about yourself in one way or another for ten minutes. It’s impossible. With the comfort He comforts us with, He said the following to His disciples. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 14:19  Thoughts of the eternal and thoughts of God were placed, revealed to the minds and spirits of those early disciples, and it was not of their doing. That is why they were initially concerned. Jesus had shown them a way that was beyond themselves. As one looks out over the ocean to thoughts of what lies beyond, there is within every young person a vague sense of something more than what worldviews are providing them. It’s God’s birthmark on them, and He will not rest until He has claimed them as His own. To understand this “face of God,” consider the 24th verse of Deuteronomy 4.  “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous (’El qanna’) God. Deuteronomy 4:24 This is to me one of the most powerful and moving names for God, ’El qanna’. Think of our young as God’s target of love. The cosmic battle is constantly being waged in their hearts and minds and in the world around them. They are surrounded with the lie that their greatest longings can be fulfilled in this world. And the author of the lie stands at the door of their minds, defiantly resisting any imposter. And with the vengeance of a jealous lover, God releases His Word of life to them, and no one can match the glory and power of His promises.  But our young cannot put the world on hold. Someone must come into this world to bring life to them.  The Psalmist refers to God’s presence as light. Your word is a lamp for my feet,  a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 By the river that passed through our land, deer would gather for water, causing me to think often of what the psalmist wrote. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 42:1-2  When the apostle John referred to Jesus as the bread of life, the water of life, he was not writing to and for people in their eighties, but for all people. I had not been in the ministry long, when I had to conduct the funeral of a young woman who just happened to stay overnight at a girlfriends place.  On that very night, a deranged ex-boyfriend broke into the girlfriend’s apartment and strangled his ex-girlfriend and discovering another young woman in a bed nearby, strangled her.  But the same is happening now in one destructive form or another. Living as we do in such precarious times, who is there to tell them of the security found only in Jesus Christ?


What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:8    

 Suffering is a reality. In the throes of suffering it is nearly impossible to experience the presence of God. 


Within an instant, one’s entire life can be changed forever. What was, just a few minutes ago, a confident individual able to cope with most anything, becomes a person who is helplessly dependent on others. 

 
Two realities collide in moments of sudden change. One is faced with the truth that life is not at all about what we make of it, but what God made life for. 

God is a God of life and Satan, once God’s favored angel, chose to destroy life in whatever ways he could. He did this to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise, and they became citizens of his world. We are citizens of this same world. 

 
 

We can only imagine Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. The truth revealed to us is that by His hanging on the cross he became a full citizen of the world. In His being fully human He did what we could never do. He rose from death, a curse we can never overcome. By so doing, He opened up a new eternity for us. The message of my book, Beyond Time is we, by faith, live with that eternity in mind. Christ living in us in our suffering is the surety we will not have to live forever in this state.