This past week, Pastor Tim opened his sermon with an interesting question: how would you react if you found out Jesus was going to come and live with you?
I could honestly say that I was excited by the question. Jesus has always been my best friend, and even though I cannot see Him in the flesh, I have clung to Him throughout my life for His love and direction no matter what I am going through. I think it would be incredible to spend some quality time with my best friend where we could talk face-to-face.
I wondered what that kind of closeness would feel like with Him actually dwelling with me. Scripture talks about this closeness as God dwells with His people, making Himself known to those He loves as they seek Him with their whole heart.
Recently, I have been thinking about this concept a great deal as I have found a renewed passion for pursuing a deeper relationship with Him It all started when I was sick a few weeks ago and I felt very much alone. I knew that I had friends and family that I could call at any time, but even so, I felt very isolated in my little apartment. I talked to Jesus often in prayer as I asked for healing and relief from the intense loneliness. I found myself worrying quite a bit, and with each negative thought that entered my mind, I did my best to give it over to Him. I read Scripture voraciously, particularly portions from Psalms and Isaiah— just drinking in His words of hope and promise.
As my week at home progressed, I began to emerge from both my physical and spiritual illness. I felt closer to my Best Friend than I had felt in a long time, and I wanted even more from our relationship. So as I contemplated Pastor Tim’s question, I found myself wishing that I could actually spend time with Him face-to-face.
If He came one day and knocked on my apartment door, I would invite Him in and give Him something to eat. Then I would ask Him to come to the office with me, and perhaps we would sit together on the piano stool and just worship together. And then we would head over to the Fountain Teen Center, where I volunteer, and spend time with the youth who walk through our doors after school and on weekends. We would spend an ordinary day together in service; I don’t think I would do anything differently or change my routine just because He came to visit in the flesh. I would simply be glad to have Him at my side, even if it was only for one brief day.
But even though He is not here with me, carrying on a conversation face-to-face, He is still present. As I said before, Scripture tells us that He longs to dwell with His people. I am thinking of the promise contained in Psalm 139:7-10:
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
I also consider Revelation 21:3: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
Christ, through the Holy Spirit, longs to dwell that closely with people like you and me. I, too, long to be so close to Him that I truly know Him. I have a long way to go in this lifetime before I can say that I walk that closely with Him. I am doing my best to trust Him in all circumstances and come to Him in prayer even in the most difficult of times.
But I also need to remember to come to Him when everything is going well— on those ordinary days when I go to the office, practice for leading worship, and volunteer with the youth in our community. I love those late-night conversations that I have with my Best Friend in the quiet of my bedroom as I recount to Him the events of my day— even though He knows everything before I speak— and I thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed on my life. It’s a journey that needs to be experienced day by day— a day with Jesus whether He is here in the flesh or held closely within my heart.