It’s hard not to be with someone you love. I know that technology in our day and age can keep us closer. We can call the person we love if he/she is some distance away from us, perhaps on a business trip. We can send an email or text, even though I’ve never tried sending a text message yet. (Maybe I will sometime before I depart this life. Then my family will think I’m somewhat in with the times.) There are certainly ways that we can stay in touch with someone we love.
But no matter how wonderful technology is in our day, it’s not the same as having the one you love right next to you. The only way a deep relationship can develop between two people is if they are near to each other. If a man and a woman who were in love with each other stayed apart and communicated just using technology, they wouldn’t be able to take their relationship to the next level. It’s hard to make long distance relationships work.
When the one we love is near us, he/she is more real to us. We need that close contact.
Now, maybe some of us are wondering where I’m going with this. Well, let me continue. As Christians we experience a relationship with Jesus. On the one hand, He has promised that He is with us always, all throughout our lives. We know He lives in our hearts because we believe in Him. We come to His house of worship to pray to Him and sing praises. We fellowship with like-minded Christians who experience a relationship with Jesus as well. In this respect we are close to Jesus.
On the other hand, though, Jesus isn’t sitting in the pew right next to us. He dwells in heaven, which is some distance away from us. We can’t reach out and hug Him if we wanted to. We can’t carry on a conversation with Him. We can certainly pray to Him, but He isn’t going to answer us audibly. So there is a kind of distance between us. He doesn’t live on this earth in bodily form.
This makes it hard for many to enjoy a close relationship with the Lord. This explains why many people don’t have time for Jesus. "He is just too far away and doesn’t seem real enough. Why not focus on something that is more tangible instead? God’s word and the church aren’t good enough to verify Jesus’ existence." People are looking for something more on which to base a relationship with Him. The sad thing is that they are going to lose out.
Even though Jesus can’t be seen or touched He is more real than an earthly person or thing we have an attachment to. The relationship with any earthly thing or person is going to end, but a relationship with Jesus will last forever. I hope we don’t miss out on this lasting relationship. Believe it or not, some things that we can’t see are more real than what we do see. Our relationship with Jesus is one of those things.
I hope we regard our relationship with Jesus more than just an abstract relationship with Him. It can be much more meaningful to us if we do. We can derive greater joy and peace out of life if we do.
Maybe there are two reasons we don’t bring Jesus closer to us. The first is we don’t care about having a deep relationship with Him and the second might be we don’t know how to have a more meaningful relationship with Him. I’m not going to elaborate on the "I don’t care reason." That’s something we each have to work on. We know that we should care. I won’t say anything else about this.
I will, however, say a little bit about the second reason which is we may not know how to have a more meaningful relationship with Him. Let’s think, for a moment, how we relate to our best friend. We share things that bother us with that person. We turn to that person for advice, perhaps. We try to spend time with him/her. That person has become an important part of us.
Well, let’s take all of this and apply it to our relationship with Jesus. Perhaps, if we do, He will become our best friend. We’ll turn to Him for advice. We’ll share our concerns with Him. We’ll try to spend time with Him in prayer and in worship. By doing these things our relationship with Jesus will become much more meaningful and deeper. We’ll be closer to Jesus in this life of ours.
Even though we can’t reach out and touch Him physically in this life He can be very close to us in our hearts. This is the closest we can get to Him now.
It wasn’t always this way. In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden, He dwelt with them in bodily form. He talked with them and walked with them. He was their close friend. They could see Him and hear Him. They could shake His hand just like we shake each others hands. His presence among them was like the presence of our spouse of other family member in our homes. They are physically present and real to us. God was physically real to them and present with them.
But that all changed. When Adam and Eve sinned God drove them away from His presence in the Garden. They could no longer stay with Him because they were no longer pure. And as mankind began to sin more and more, mankind drove God further and further away until our present situation where God is in heaven and we are on earth and the only way to reach Him is through prayer and worship.
This is not how God wanted it. He wanted to dwell among us physically, but we drove Him away because of our sin. However, we can still enjoy a relationship with Jesus because of His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins. Because we have been forgiven, we can turn to Jesus, who hears and listens to us.
A few moments ago I encouraged us to deepen our relationship with the Lord. It’s the closest we’ll get to Him here on earth. Our lives will be happier as a result.
In our text we’re told that God is going to create a new heavens and a new earth. This one were standing on is going to be destroyed. It’s no longer going to exist. Our text then says in verse three that God will dwell among us. That means He will physically live with us, just as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden in the beginning of time. God will once again talk and walk with mankind. We will behold Him in the fullness of His glory. We will experience a relationship with Him like we never had before.
So hang in there. Our relationship with the Lord will be deeper in the future. God will dwell with us. Nothing will ever change our relationship with Him. When Adam and Eve sinned their relationship with the Lord changed significantly, and life became much more difficult. I don’t think we need anyone to tell us how difficult life is at times. But when we dwell in God’s new earth we will no longer be under the curse of sin. God’s world will be perfect. There will be no temptation or the opportunity to sin and ruin our relationship with the Lord. He will always be with us, and we will always be with Him.
In the meantime, though, I would encourage us to get as close as we can to the Lord as we wait for Him to dwell among us forever. Our lives will be the better for it. Just think how empty our lives would be if it weren’t for Jesus’ dwelling in our hearts. Who would we have to turn to in times of trouble? We all need someone to turn to no matter how stoic we may think we are. There are things in life that we can’t surmount by ourselves. We need the relationship of our Lord.
May we draw closer to Jesus and treasure the relationship we have for Him. And remember that our relationship with Him is going to get even better.