Last weekend, thanks to the generosity of Terrell’s parents’ babysitting and our friends’s lake home, Terrell and I had just under 48 hours of time alone together. We packed random food, threw in clothes that would keep us from being too cold in the mountains and had a few other things like a guitar, laptop and movie to enjoy while there. It didn’t really matter what we ate, though, or what we wore, because the point of the weekend was finally having uninterrupted time together. Eating our meals was just another time to be together, the diappointing movie was simply another shared experience and a slightly treacherous run up icy, muddy, rediculously steep roads was quite bonding if not much in the way of real exercise.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3
I continue to live as if eternal life is later…something in the distant future, intangible and ethereal. Yet, nowhere is that the way it is presented in the story of redemption. Yes, there are greater things to come for certain and the good things now are simply appetizers, commercials or shadows of their fuller realities. But if eternal life is life, if the life Jesus brings is abundant and that eternal and abundant life is knowing Him…well, that is now.
What this means is that I have to see everything differently than my natural eyes are inclined to perceive. To make the weekend away with Terrell all about the food we eat or the clothes we packed would be to miss the whole point of the weekend! To get bent out of shape because the run was painful or the movie a waste of two good hours of our lives would have been to miss knowing Terrell in those moments…his patience, his relaxed nature, his enjoyment of the time simply because we got to be together in it. The car ride wasn’t the point, the visiting and being together in the car was. The style of the cabin didn’t matter but sharing that space together, talking without interruption or hurry, knowing each other better regardless of interior decorating or furniture placement.
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, so we say. “Knowing you, Jesus, knowing You, there is no greater thing…” Really? That is just now how I really live. Knowing Jesus, practically speaking, becomes having my own personal “Yes man”, on call handiman, stockbroker and waiter. When I am sick He is supposed to heal me immediately, when I am poor He is supposed to fill up the coffers to prove His faithfulness to me, when I register a complaint I expect Him to see that the problem is resolved quickly and when the line is really long, well, if Disney can provide one of those express line passes, surely He can!
When will I move beyond knowing God simply as my Sugar Daddy, as Scotty says, and instead as the Author of Life? When will I begin to treasure waiting, like a car ride with Terrell, because it give me more time to know Him better, trust Him more and belive what I haven’t yet? When will the paradigm of the purpose of my day today shift from a vacation to be critiqued and improved to moments crafted by His design to know Him more intimately, genuinely and fully?
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil. 3:10-11
Do you know why I can’t see this as the goal and meaning of every moment? Because I think I already do. I think, even as I sing “Its all about you, Jesus”, that I really believe that. But like Job, my own dismay and even despair over relational disconnect, illness, natural disasters, my own sin and the sins of others tells of a different reality. Like Job and his friends, I search my faithfulness to God for the value of my life, I search my health and prosperity for my sense of peace and well-being, I trust my understanding and experiences as the standard of truth. Like Job, I need to begin to see every detail of my circumstances as the means by which He makes Himself known to me and grows my faith in what is true about Who He is. It is not the escape, the healing, the provision or even the blessing in which my soul will find its greatest satisfaction but in finally knowing God’s very tangible presence in the Garden, in the flood, in the wilderness, in slavery, through the waters, in the desert, in the furnace, through the valley of the shadow of death, on the road to Emmaeus… You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42:4-5