Jesus answered him, “If a man loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him.” — John 14:23 MEV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. — Revelation 3:20, NKJV
The passages are lovely on their face — as I meditated on them, I felt like Jesus was showing me: any gracious response to the call of God is rewarded by intimacy, communion with God.
If that’s the case though, I wondered, why did I not come into true connection and intimacy with Christ when I accepted him as Savior as a child? Why did it take 40+ years for me to really feel truly connected to the divine? And why did it only begin to happen when I felt like everything else in my life was lost?
I felt like Jesus was telling me that true intimacy and fellowship with God is of such great magnitude that it cannot be one competing concern in a life with many concerns. It is so overwhelming a force, it can only enter and fill what is empty.
Perhaps this is one reason that death and resurrection are the symbols of it – – a living person is already animated by its own natural processes – – but a dead person is emptied of all that, and so, is able to receive the immense power and life of God. Why die? So that you can experience resurrection!
One beautiful facet of this process is: the reanimated, or we would say resurrected, person is not then derived of all that it was. Rather, all that it is, is perfected and animated by the life and spirit of God – – What makes me me was always Christ in me; what prevented Christ in me from truly empowering and animating me was the habits, hurts, sins, and cares of this world.
This is why, I think, great suffering can lead us to the place where we know that Christ is all, and Christ is in all, and Christ is who we are. Tragedy empties us of what had been preventing the gigantic force of God’s love from taking up its residence here.
What a harsh way to gain access to us! But what an excellent way to show us that the love of God and friendship with Jesus is all we need and all that makes life beautiful.