Something unexpected happened this morning as I was driving home from making some returns at Wal-Mart. The sky was a bright blue. Not hazy at all. Incredibly clear. A CD was playing. Yes, a CD. I drive a 2005 Honda Pilot.
The lyrics of the song followed the words of 1 Peter 1:3-9.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Although I have been thinking about heaven a lot lately (having recently read Paul Tripp’s book, Forever), in this moment, as this passage was being sung, it was as if the sky parted and I was given a vision of heavenly glory.
No, not literally.
But my soul was filled with so much longing that I began to weep uncontrollably with the desire to be in the presence of Jesus and filled with so much joy that every connection of dependency with this world felt loosed, as if Jesus really is enough.
The expression of emotion I experienced is not something that occurs often with me. As an INTJ/Enneagram 5 who is an ultra high C on on the DiSC, I tend to live in the world of the rational and intellectual, not the emotional.
Yet it dawned on me with overwhelming conviction.
No, Jesus is not enough. He is more than enough. He is all. All my hope. All my joy. All my comfort. All my peace. All my righteousness. All my boast. My all satisfying Savior and King in whom I delight.
While the eternal state is not an eternal worship service with Jesus on the stage leading the hymns, I’d be fine with that. Even more than fine. To see him face to face. To savor love without measure and infinite grace as I behold his glorious kindness and majesty… words fail to express how much I simply want to behold him as he is.
As I reflect on this experience in my SUV on a backroad in north Georgia, I think I know what actually opened the floodgates of joyful tears of eternal expectation. I began to say out loud, “Wait a minute. Is heaven for real? Is this life but a miniscule speck in time on the horizon of eternity? Is the gospel really true?” The resounding answer was yes.
As the torrent flowed down my face, it was as if all my anxieties, fears, stresses, regrets, disappointments, and needs were being expunged from my physical body in the wake of an existential encounter, versus just an intellectual encounter, with the reality of eternal life in the age of a new heavens and a new earth.
What I have believed with my mouth had intoxicated my soul with longing and joy. I was under the influence of forever, which has given me a renewed desire to be faithful now, living this life for the glory of Jesus in the power of the Spirit, keeping my eyes wide open for the next parting in the sky.