“Dad, do you ever get the feeling that this life we are living is kind of like a dream and when we die that’s when we finally wake up?”
I asked my dad that question when I was eighteen years old. We were sitting in a Pizza Hut around 10:00pm waiting for our pizza. We’d been at the hospital all day by my mom’s side watching her life here on earth slowly come to an end. We hadn’t eaten all day and my dad said we needed to eat something.
Over the past 24 years, that scene will come to mind every so often. I still get that feeling sometimes, that feeling our life, here and now, is like a dream. But, today, it’s more like what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13:12:
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
Today, I also think of the reason Jesus gave us for coming to earth and entering our situations. He came to give us real and abundant life now. So even in the midst of our puzzling reflections and partial, incomplete knowledge, we can experience life to the fullest, today, through Him. Even on the days when I feel as if I’m only partially “awake” (and no, this is not from lack of coffee) and am highly aware that I lack complete understanding, I still have full access to this abundant life and to a Perfect Love that drives out fear.
“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:9-10
He will come in and go out and find pasture.
I think about how my mom recited these words as she faded in and out of consciousness…hovering between the life here and the more yet to come.
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell int he house of the Lord
as long as I live.
He lets me lie down in green pastures
I love the image of green pastures. They make me think of Scripture verses that refer to “spacious places.”
“He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” (2 Samuel 22:20)
“You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.”(Psalm 31:8)
“..but you have set my feet in a spacious place.” You might recognize that. It’s been the tagline for this blog from the very beginning. It’s one of my favorite verses. It sums up my journey from dark to light.
The words, spacious place, make me think of a wide-open-I-have-room-to-breathe pasture filled with lush green vibrant life. In other words…abundant and full…just like Jesus promised!
I had the opportunity to spend some time sitting still in a green pasture earlier this week. I sat, read, and listened to the “quiet” creek water flowing nearby. It was peaceful. I can understand why both Jesus and David were inclined to use this image to try to describe the connection we can have with our Savior and our Creator this side of heaven.
Today, I am thankful for the green pastures where we are invited to come and find rest no matter what challenges we are currently walking through or uncertainties waiting just over the horizon.
“My Beloved, bring me awake
Take me up to Your resurrection place
My Beloved, bring me awake
‘Cause I wanna feel Your light on my face”