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Meditation 8*

With the Lord Forever

And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
I Thessalonians 4:17-18

It has pleased God to offer all His children a gravitational point for their soul, a central point for their desires, a focus for the love in their human heart for that single one beloved Immanuel. It was not as if God in all His eternal glorious Being would ***lose something of Himself, be reduced in some way, what with all the tension, effort and all the power of the love that could fall in their human heart. The Lord of Lords continues to encourage all that always and eternally. He, the Fountain of all good and the deepest well of all blessings, wants to be all in all. Never does He give one single droplet of love to the egoistic heart of His creature without keeping track of the direction this love takes. The fragrance of all love must be for Him who created all things only for Himself; all things, thus also the savour of the love of the human heart.

We should never have doubts about the above. The longing in our heart for Immanuel, both in Scripture and with God’s children, refer to nothing else but that glorious statement of Jesus Himself during the night of His death, when He said, “Whoever sees me, sees the Father!” (John 14:9). We are to be one with Him, Immanuel, at soul level, but only in order to gain access to and be conducted into the presence of the Father.

So long as we wander along the slippery path of sickly imagination it is possible that we might exclusively hold fast to Christ and think it is all about Him, not about the divine Being Himself. Where this happens, faith soon loses its refreshing strength and the waters of life no longer flow through the channel of our hearts. We must let go of this false Jesus image that we had formed in your sickly soul. Then, suddenly we will once again cleave to the real Immanuel, He who always points away from Himself to the Father!

That soul is pious that focuses on seeking the eternal Being. True piety consists of seeking God, to realize you cannot do without Him. The image of a deer that, exhausted by the hunt, cannot go further but yearns for the streams of water, has always been the God-given image for the child of God (Psalm 42).

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But why is it that your soul’s attraction to Jesus is so different from its attraction to God, not more, not stronger, but different? Let’s take your beloved young daughter once again as an example. You can talk to her about the Eternal One and when she prays, she prays to God Himself alright, that most holy Being, Who fills her with solemn respect. Nevertheless, when you speak to her of God, her heart does not fully open, is not completely receptive. She would like to be open; she is inclined towards it, but she is incapable. The Lord God is too high, too distant, too glorious. She will try to imagine Him to her utmost, but to imagine God in Himself is beyond her. When she tries, all connection with God recedes into the distance like a High God as in some other religions.

But now speak to her about Jesus and immediately her reaction changes. The Name of Jesus evokes a totally different picture for her. His Name seems more affectionate and speaks more to her heart. She can imagine that Name so much easier. Ah, Jesus, Him she can picture. Not exactly as He is, of course, not in sharp outline, but she can imagine Jesus entering her bedroom, sit down at her bedside, place His tender hand on her forehead and whisper, “My dear child, good night.” With this imaginative scene in her soul, your daughter can fall asleep in peace.

What’s happening here? What is the mystery behind all this? In order to think about God, the child has to imagine something, but she is incapable of that. But in Jesus, God now provides her with her own kind of image. Now she no longer needs to feverishly search in her imagination; now she finds a resting place. She may not comprehend the process and is not able to explain it, but that is nevertheless the key to this wonderful mystery: your child can only think about God by looking onto and thinking about Jesus. It happens unconsciously. But as soon as she is in relationship with Jesus, the blessed experience of being in communion with God envelopes her heart.

Please do not think, “That may happen to my daughter, but not to me.” You would be wide off the mark. To be sure, you are different from her. You notice more. You are more conscious of your inner experience, but when it comes right down to it, in your soul you experience exactly the same thing your child does. Apart from Jesus, you can only conjecture God from afar. But when you come near Jesus and spend time with the Immanuel, then the eternal love of the Lord of Lords unlocks for you as well.

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It is not Jesus’ divine nature that causes this within you, but His human nature. Think about it. Let’s say you meet a righteous and holy person, so perfectly pious and holy that from day one no one ever detected a single sinful odour on him. Imagine further that this perfectly holy person has the power to quell the sense of guilt in your soul and to salve your restless conscience with the balm of reconciliation, so that his inexhaustible holiness does not depress you but lifts you up. If that person could lead you into the presence of the Lord of Lords, he would be like Jesus.

Not a single word emanates or a single look radiates from Him without your experiencing holiness or tenderness. From there, He leads you to the Eternal, where a mysterious power overcomes you that you don’t understand but that nevertheless helps you experience something absolutely glorious as you approach God.

This is not a matter of competition, of choosing between the one or the other or of going back and forth between the two. It is not a matter of the soul wavering between the two. It is rather an intense focus on Jesus that grows holier and penetrates deeper. And to the degree that you penetrate deeper into His soul, the glory of the Lord unlocks itself more for you.

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Oh, that you would only seek your Jesus. Seek Him in His Word,; seek Him in your prayers, in the quiet meditations of your heart. The closer you are to Him, the nearer you will feel yourself closer to the Eternal One. To be united with Jesus is to be united with God.

However, when you divorce yourself from Jesus, the Eternal and Glorious God simultaneously disappears from the horizon of your soul as well. Sin does that to you. It feeds upon your spiritual lethargy and upon the unrighteousness in your evil heart. That’s when, while far removed from Christ, your soul also finds itself also far from God, turned away from Him and lost in loneliness. When the soul then finds itself pushed around by storms, it calls and screams desperately for comfort and consolation.

It is so glorious to know that there will come a time when this will no longer happen. There will come a time, an eternity in fact, when nothing can again separate us from Christ. Then we will always be with the Lord and through Him worship that Eternal God whom we call “Abba, our loving Father.” Therein lays the comfort for all God’s children!

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