Forgiveness did more than free us from the old; it freed us for the new: close-up enjoyment of God.
He didn’t wave his scepter over us like a magical wand to change our status from sinner to forgiven. The high cost plan was Christ! We were “overwhelmed” by sin, but his sacrifice dealt with it perfectly. Justice was satisfied, we are forgiven and the new has become ours.
Forgiveness opened the door to the life we were created for, the one we were chosen to enjoy: his close-up presence.
The new is about life in God’s company. It brings a satisfaction that outdoes anything the old could offer. It’s a preview of our future Home-life. From close-up, the Lord shares his goodness with us; not a meager, ‘just enough’ portion, but lavishly. He fills us, resizes our desire, fills us more…. and keeps doing so.
David put it this way: When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave…… Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. (Psalm 65:3, 4)
Does close-up enjoyment of him work in real life? How do we “taste” his goodness (Psm 34:8) when surrounded by so much UNgood?
Close-up enjoyment of the Lord wasn’t planned to work in heaven, but not earth. It’s designed for life in a busy, broken world. He planned that life’s realities wouldn’t shrink our enjoyment of the new, but grow it. So he designed us (his house) to be a “house of prayer”.
Prayer is the love-rule of his house; it’s the core feature of life in his company. Through prayer, close-up enjoyment of him ‘works’ IN the real life issues (not in spite of them). They become a prism reflecting rays of the Lord’s goodness to us. But, it’s only as our heart quietens in prayer that we see it.
In this house (which is us), we don’t have to peer from the window to search for goodness in the distance. It fills the house. His presence is close-up and constant. But, by design, the new is enjoyed through a prayer relationship. In prayer, belief translates into enjoyable, close-up experience of him.
David set up a center in Zion to encourage a spirit of constant prayer in the nation (which is why his song starts the way it does, 65:1,2). Part of their day-and-night praying was the celebration of answers: You answer us with awesome deeds (5).
God’s answers display his goodness. But what if no answer comes?
It would be nice if, every time we ask the Lord for something, he answers and we get to shout that refrain. It’s good to ask big and expect awesome (after all, we’re seeing his goodness from close-up). But, awesome answers don’t come every time we ask.
Our close-up enjoyment of God isn’t dependent on things working out the way we hope or ask. If his love withholds or delays an answer, it doesn’t mean goodness has left the house. Even the no-answer will be his prism to display something of his close-up goodness to us.
In this simple exercise, pay special attention to the second point. It’s possibly even more important than the first.
- Recall one recent answer to your asking (there’s actually a level of “awesome” to any answer). What does that answer show you about the close-up goodness of the Lord? Celebrate it.
- Recall an asking that received NO answer (or, not the one hoped for). Reflect on the need, your asking and the no-answer, and let it become the Spirit’s prism to show you something of the Lord’s close-up goodness. That is, a glimpse of his goodness you might not have noticed had the answer already come. See it and celebrate.