The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Is 35:1-10 ESV)
Have you ever wondered whether the Scriptures above only spoke of a future life in heaven after our physical death? Or are out there some readers who have the hope, or even the experience, that such a wonderful life does exist right now? No doubt, after this earthly life that is more or less filled with pain, sorrow, and trials for everyone, those verses certainly fit. However, it depends on how we define life. Do we see life as something that somehow “approaches” us merely from the outside and confronts us with circumstances we often had not chosen if the power had been in our own hands, or, do we realize that every living creature has received its life from the unseen Spirit who is Life? The Spirit is God’s and thus everything that exists IS eternal. So, if Christ transfers our awareness from the physical realm into the spiritual realm, we might suddenly see that ALL life is eternal (Note: discussing eternal death here would take me too far afield right now).
Nonetheless, the spiritual life I am speaking of here must be given to us since every human being by nature is indeed separated from God’s life and naturally unable to touch, taste, smell, hear, and see spiritual things. Once we have received this life, we cannot die anymore, but already live eternally, though our outward wrapper (aka as body 😉 ) withers. The scriptural confirmation can be found here:
“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he wills.” (Jn 5:21 ESV)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (Jn 5:24 ESV)
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3 ESV)
Let me conclude with two quotes from Oswald Chambers which might be enlightening, but also a bit thought-provoking, I hope. 😉 The first one refers to experiencing God’s power in circumstances which are adverse, to be sure, but can be perceived differently as soon as we live together with God as, for example, the apostle Paul and many, many others saints later did. The second excerpt points to the possibility to really SEE Jesus in this life, an experience that eclipses the whole creation in light of Him who created all things (if you like, confer my own testimony https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/my-testimony/ under “A few months later…Meeting the Christ of Revelation, the Son of God”).
And now Oswald Chambers, once again. 🙂
We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us. Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against— tribulation, suffering, and persecution— are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
After that, He appeared in another form to two of them… —Mark 16:12
Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing. Many people who have never seen Jesus have received and share in God’s grace. But once you have seen Him, you can never be the same. Other things will not have the appeal they did before.
You should always recognize the difference between what you see Jesus to be and what He has done for you. If you see only what He has done for you, your God is not big enough. But if you have had a vision, seeing Jesus as He really is, experiences can come and go, yet you will endure “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).
Jesus must appear to you and to your friend individually; no one can see Jesus with your eyes. And division takes place when one has seen Him and the other has not. You cannot bring your friend to the point of seeing; God must do it. Have you seen Jesus? If so, you will want others to see Him too. “And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either” (Mark 16:13). When you see Him, you must tell, even if they don’t believe.