I just had an interesting picture on my mind. Imagine all people in this world initially walk through barren and desolate land for the most part of their lifetime. But sometimes some of them suddenly see an oasis before their eyes. They can hardly believe that they now can leave the wilderness they were in for a very long time and sparks of hope begin to take root inside their hearts. However, alas, as they come closer and closer, they realize that what they had seen within their reach seemed to be only a Fata Morgana since it was gone as soon as they wanted to take possession of it. Grievously disappointed and discouraged they find themselves forced to continue on their journey through the desert, but they cannot forget the beauty of the place they would see before being able to arrive there.
This is what I would call the approach of all religions that exist in this world. People had experiences of seeing a world they had not been capable of perceiving beforehand and they try to do all sorts of things in order to find it again. Some of them often read about such experiences and tell one another again and again how that oasis would look like and how they felt facing an almost indescribable beauty. Others sing about that supernatural view, even though they themselves might have never seen it before. Still others try to find that foreign land inside themselves by practicing self-discovery methods like meditation, contemplation, and various relaxation techniques for body and mind. Oh, there are sooo many people in this world who long for MORE of life! I believe they long for the MORE only God can provide. But how can we find it?
Could you believe it if I told you that all people are IN Christ, yet that only a handful of them will ever get aware of it permanently during this lifetime? Since God is omnipresent and Jesus Christ is God, no human being is able to escape God’s presence unless the eternal God Himself ceases to be ubiquitous. The apostle Paul declared as he was in Athens,
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” (Acts 17:24-28 ESV)
In Him ALL of us live and move and have our being; we just read the biblical confirmation. In order to refine the above-mentioned wilderness picture that could be familiar to us regarding our human trials and afflictions, just as the picture of the oasis could represent some relief through temporary happiness, I will now introduce a further possibility of experiencing the eternal God through sharing eternal life IN Christ continuously.
Let’s say on your way through the desert you surprisingly meet someone who tells you about a big river inside the wilderness that would be able to keep you in perfect peace and joy as long as you were able to stay inside. But if you left the river again, you would be forced to live your life as you used to do beforehand and to continue wandering through barren and desolate land, seemingly forever…
Does that river exist? Is it possible to ever get there for every single one of us? Yes, I believe it is possible for it is God’s grace alone that enables man to finally die to self in that river. Since the night is the darkest before the dawn, as the saying goes, there will be one particular day when we will get aware of having found eternal life inside us when we suddenly sense that the river we before merely observed somehow from the outside has become a spring of living water (read Holy Spirit) in ourselves (Jn 4:14, 7:38). Then we will see God everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. And then we have really entered the kingdom of God, the Promised Land, and nothing can “separate us from the love of God IN Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38 ESV) – [Emphasis in caps mine].
I know from my own experience that it is very difficult to describe the experiences of which I just tried to tell you on here. Therefore I want to point you to two different poems I wrote recently that deal exactly with the (end of the) process of dying to self and the (very!) slow dawning of a new era in our earthly life through the experience of having been immersed into Christ with our whole being. IN Christ…real life begins….even plenty of everything as Jesus promised here,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Jn 10:10 ESV)
If you follow the links below, you can read the poems on my other blog Susanne Schuberth’s Poetry.