Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.—Genesis 3:8

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace….—Galatians 5:22

He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.—2 Corinthians 1:21,22

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.—1 Corinthians 13:12

It might seem like the above verses don’t have a lot to do with each other.  Let me explain what they mean to me on this particular week:

People used to walk with God in a beautiful paradise, enjoying His presence as a regular part of our lives.  Then we sinned, our relationship with God was broken, and we no longer desired His presence as we once did.  (Genesis 3).

When Jesus came, He made it possible for those who trust Him to receive His Holy Spirit, who is God’s presence within us, and who produces all sorts of good things in us that were lost when the world was broken.  One of those things is peace, which I assume is a pretty good word for what Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden with God. (Galatians 5),

The Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.  When we are buying a home or a car and we put down a deposit, its’ a way of saying “there’s more where that came from.  Here’s some of what is coming, and you can trust me for the rest.”  Thus, the things we enjoy from the Holy Spirit now (such as love, joy and peace), are just a taste of what is coming.  When we get a glimpse of real joy or experience a moment of peace from God, He’s saying “there’s more where that came from.  Just wait.” (2 Corinthians 1)

In this life, we only get glimpses of God.  We only taste his goodness.  We do experience his presence, his love, his joy, and his peace, but imperfectly, not in their fullness.  One day, we will see Him face to face.  We will truly know Him, and His goodness will fill our lives without being diluted in any way by the sin in this world or in our flesh. (1 Corinthians 13).

This is all very important to me because life right now is pretty chaotic, as it often is for parents.  We have a son in little league baseball, a daughter in volleyball, and another daughter who was in dance 3 nights a week until she seriously injured herself.  Now she’s helpless on the couch, which brings its own challenges.  It’s spring, which is the season for recitals, graduations, and other special events.  In our family, spring also means we go through a couple of months where it seems that every week someone is having a birthday.  The church is in a busy season, and our fridge broke a few weeks ago.  Life seems to be a blur of doctor’s appointments, games, practices, sermons, meetings, lessons, schedule conflicts, and conversations that get cut short because we have to move on to the next thing.

In the midst of all that, I had a moment this week that reminded me of heaven.  I had come home from work with an hour or so to rest before I needed to go teach at Honorbound, our Monday night men’s Bible study. Caleb, who had been diligently doing his schoolwork all day, asked me to take him on a bike ride.  It was a beautiful afternoon, so I agreed, and we went for a short spin.  Along the way, I realized something: the sun is going down later now, and it would still be light when I got out of Honorbound.  If I wanted to, I could bike there instead of taking my car.  So I did.

The ride to the church is uphill, so it took some work, but I enjoyed it.  It felt good to be moving, out in the fresh air, instead of sitting at my desk or in my car.  But it was the ride home that was really special.  I was the last one out of the building after Bible study, and the view from our parking lot, which is always a good one, was spectacular.  The sun had just set, and the sky to the east was full of beautiful pink clouds.  To the west were trees silhouetted by the fading blue light.  In the south, Diamond Mountain was still full of snow, but the air temperature was absolutely perfect, like an evening in June instead of April.  Everywhere, the hillsides were green with the new growth of spring.

The ride, being almost all downhill, was effortless.  I just got to coast along and feel the wind, breathe the air, watch the changing sky, and soak up the beauty.  Praise welled up in me, as effortless as the ride was.  The experience made me aware of the presence of God in a way that sitting at my desk simply can’t do.  Somewhere along the way, the thought came to me: “I bet in heaven, there are a lot more moments like this one, and a lot fewer like some of the others I’ve had lately.”  Fewer meetings, more play.  Less stress, more worship.  No emergency rooms, just healthy bodies exploring and enjoying creation.  No distractions, just the uninterrupted presence of God.

Moments like that don’t come as often as I’d like, but it’s important to have them from time to time, so we don’t forget where this is all headed.  This is why we make time to sit still and meet with God, because too often the cares of this life draw us away from Him, not closer to Him.  It’s why we gather on Sundays, to remind each other that He still wants to claim the central place in our hearts, even in the midst of this world’s chaos.  This week, and this season, how will you set aside your daily busyness and taste the presence of God?  When you do, remember: there’s more where that came from.

For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.—Hebrews 13:14

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