“It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in the highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.”
Ephesians 2:3b-6, MSG (emphasis added)
“‘Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need.'”
John 14:8, NCV
The world is raging right now. We have had non-stop upheavals for about a month. At first, they were political; they have now become elemental. Rain and winds and water and seas are raging against our fellow man. This is when being a Christian becomes a tricky subject. For instance, I can watch news footage of hurricane Irma from the comfort of my home and think of Jesus Culture’s song “Fierce” and be blown away (pun intended) by the magnitude of God’s love for me. It is fierce…like a hurricane. However, if I were to come out and say that like, I don’t know, in a blog post or something…that would probably be frowned upon. But the fact is, I do see the fierce love of God in the powerful wake of a hurricane. Not in the destruction of the after, but in the ferocity of the during.
I came across John 14:8 in my devotion reading this morning and it really got me. This translation is the best because of the second half of Philip’s statement. The Father. That is all we need. The interesting thing is that Philip gets rebuked for his statement. You see, out of context that seems like a statement of great faith. But the truth is, Philip and the other disciples had been in constant communion with the Father through their friendship with the Son. He couldn’t see that though. He was too busy looking for the Father to be distracted by the Father’s representative.
Have you ever felt that way? I personally have. I remember coming home from a revival not long after my father passed away and crying out to God that I just wish I could see Him. If I could just, see his face now, then everything would be worth it. But we have seen Him.
The other verse I shared above comes into play here. We have been set in “highest heaven”. Other translations say that we have been placed in “heavenly places” when we joined ourselves to God through Jesus, our mediator. Being now, current residents of heavenly places in our souls, hearts, and minds through Jesus’ mediation and the Holy Spirit’s guiding, we see God everywhere and in all things.
In the hurricane, we see His fierce love.
In the blue sky, we see His affectionate eyes.
In the song of a blue jay, we hear His laugh.
In the lightning of a desert storm, we glimpse His wrath.
In the tender embrace of a loved one, we taste His grace.
In the power of a pipe organ, we hear His great voice.
When we take care of our storm-tossed neighbors, we see His hands. We show His hands.
When we take them what they need, we see His feet. We show His feet.
We think we cannot be His hands and feet because we are scarred.
But we forget the cross.
We cannot be His hands and feet without scars.
Seeing the Father, that is all we need. Being the Father, that is all our neighbors need.
Let us occupy heavenly places. And let us bring as many people as we can grab.
With scarred hands.
Love each other.