As I sat down at the kitchen table to work on this post, the sun slipped lower in a blue winter sky, trimmed only with random, delicate wisps of clouds. And then, at the edge of one gray strand, a short arc of rainbow appeared, as though someone had taken a giant prism and cast a banner of color in the sky. For the few moments until it faded, I tried to get a photo, but the camera could not capture the ethereal beauty of that swatch of color against the blue of sky.
I feel a similar inadequacy as I write this. This hope of God’s presence alive in the very fabric of our days, the life of every breath we take, is a hope to be shared. And yet, how can words on a screen capture the wonder, the mystery, of this hope? I know I cannot. I’ll depend on God’s words, not mine.
This is the secret of our lives now – our real lives:
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. (James 4:8a)
There it is. So simple. So life-changing.
We are not only invited to enter into the Holiest of Holies, but God comes to us. Hear these Scriptures:
* Jesus says that those who love Him will live out His teachings, and that God the Trinity “will come and make our home with each of them.” (John 14:23).
* “Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking,” says Jesus. “If you hear me, open the door. I’ll come in and we’ll share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20). He’s talking to a church, to people who claim to already know Him. Yet He’s knocking, asking for further admittance into a closer, more intimate friendship.
* The Spirit of God lives in all those who believe Jesus is the Son of God. And those believers, in turn, “live in God.” (1 John 4:13, 15)
* “Remain in me,” Jesus says, “and I will remain in you. I’m the vine. You are the branches.” (John 15)
* “When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you,” said Jesus. (John 14:20)
* And we are given this amazing glimpse into a conversation between Jesus and the Father: “I am in them and you are in me.” (John 17:23)
* Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. (Ephesians 3:17)
* My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20).
* And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. (Colossians 1:27).
The secret seems to be told with one tiny word: in.
Christ ripped apart the barrier between us and God. We no longer need special times and permission and conditions to enter His presence. We step into His presence and He comes to live right here with us, within, living closer to us than even our spouses, our brothers and sisters, our closest friend.
He comes with an intensity and intimacy that shakes our lives.
He comes in. Because this is the way we were meant to live.
David had a glimpse of the wonder of such a relationship. He marveled at the lavish goodness the Lord has stored up for those who come to him (Psalm 31:19).
This is the secret of our new lives. It is the basis for making all things new, the basis of all the hope we are going to celebrate.
We come close to God, and He comes close to us.
And that makes all the difference.
you have endowed [me] with eternal blessings
and given [me] the joy of your presence.
© Elaine Starner 2015
Photo credit: Claire Pridgeon