|In considering these “transcendent longings” of the human soul, I am driven again and again to this concept that comes out of the mind of CS Lewis. It goes something like this:
“The fact that a man is hungry does not mean that he will be fed; however, it certainly means that there is food available somewhere.”
When we find ourselves yearning for perfect love, we are ultimately brought to the feet of Jesus, who lived out this love to the fullest extent. Perhaps, like me, you have wished that you could have lived when He did, and walked with Him as one of the disciples, or even as one of the crowd that followed Him, heard His words, and witnessed His miraculous works. What wondrous experiences those people must have had!
But we live now, 2000 years removed from Jesus’ physical presence, so the best we can hope for is to meditate on the stories and wait faithfully until He returns, so that we might be with Him, in person, forever.
Or is it?
Actually, the Scripture gives us a different picture. It records Jesus’ words to His followers that it is actually better for them that He goes away, because then the Holy Spirit can be sent from the Father. Jesus maintains that the promise of the Holy Spirit is actually better than His physical presence – for now – because by the Spirit, His love will actually be poured out into our hearts and souls, that we might experientially know the love that surpasses comprehension.
Romans 8 speaks of the coming of the Spirit of sonship, that will release to us the same kind of relationship with the Father that Jesus has. Ephesians 3 tells us of the Spirit of the Father being given to us, to strengthen our inner man so that we might receive and know the incomprehensible love of Christ. Romans 5 reminds us that the love of God – that perfect, unshakeable, all-inclusive love – has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us.
In other words, by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, we can access transcendent realities. We can know unknowable things. We can touch the reality of Heaven here and now through the cultivation of intimate friendship with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told His disciples that when He went away, He would not leave them comfortless, but would send the Comforter Himself, the Holy Spirit, who would minister to us internally, and feed our souls with the transcendent food of His table – His very life.
My prayer for you, and for my own life as well, is that our passions would be focused on this one thing: getting to know the Holy Spirit intimately. He is the One who will sustain us with real food and real drink until the day that Jesus comes again.
Gary Wiens, 2/10/2018