Hi, Rob here. My 4 year old daughter has picked up one of her Dad’s odd habits – we both love looking at atlases! She was looking at her children’s one yesterday and asking me all about the countries she was looking at. It was amazing to say to her that I had friends in many of those countries. From Brunei to Canada to Finland to England and more, I along with many these days, have seen my friends move to all parts of the globe. Sites like Facebook have helped us stay in touch somewhat, but it’s not the same as being all together in one place, laughing, sharing a barbecue and a beer. I miss my friends… but I miss God more.
Now I know that God is present with us through his Holy Spirit. I know that Christ lives and that I actually do have a personal relationship with him. I walk and talk with him daily. I hear him speak to me in various ways, including through his Word. I am so grateful to God for this, but I still miss him. You see, I was made for Eden. So were you. We were made to walk with God in the cool of the day (Gen.3:8). We were made to experience his delight in us and his song over us (Zeph.3:17). We were made to revel in the overflowing love of the Trinity and to live freely and lightly in Jesus’ good company (Matt.11:28).
Some of this we can experience now, and there is more available to us now than we realise. However, we are told in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is a “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Eph.1:14).” A deposit is not the full payment. We’re also told that our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).” If evil is present then that means the Kingdom is yet to come in its fullness. Paul also tells us that, “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. but it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us (1 Cor.13:12 – The Message)!”
The ache in my heart yearns for the coming of Christ and the fullness of life in the Kingdom of God. I long for the “renewal of all things (Matt 19:28)” and the day when God wipes every tear from our eyes (Rev.21:4).” But until that day comes I am faced with daily choices: Do I seek God in the fog or not? Do I trust that even though the world is in pain and suffering under the weight of evil, that I am a child of God, a temple of the Holy Spirit and a friend of Christ? Do I trust that God will make himself known to me simply because he loves me and I belong to him? The world may be shrouded in mist but in Christ I can live in the light. I may see people bound by sin all around me but in Christ I can live in freedom. I may feel the bitterness of an angry world but in Christ I can walk with a heart full of divine love. I miss God but I choose to worship him anyway. Sometimes it seems that in following him I am chasing shadows, but I follow him anyway. I want to see clearly but God is teaching me to see with the eyes of my heart. He shows me that he is here – in the laughter of my children; in the worship of my church; in the seeking hearts of my neighbours; in the beauty of his creation. In all these things and more, he is here. Maybe he’s not so out of sight after all.