Last week I shared with you our experience in Alaska, so breathtakingly beautiful, and yet also my feeling that something was missing. As I was away from my spiritual routines, so too, I did not feel God’s Presence as I otherwise so often do.
One of my readers reminded me that the magnificent grandeur of the Alaskan landscape, its glaciers incomprehensible in size, the pristine rain forests, amazing wildlife, were indeed visual reminders of God’s Presence. Even their description in my writing made her feel the presence of God. This fact is so true, and for me, His Presence in nature is one of the key ways I typically connect with our Creator. So what was going on . . . ?
Her comment made me realize that what I was missing was not the manifestation of God’s reality that I had before I knew Yeshua. Rather, as a mainstream Jew for most of my life I had felt the presence of God. I felt our Abba answered prayer and was with me, but from afar. I prayed to God “up there”. What I was missing then and last week was a sense of His closeness, His physical manifestation here on earth, Yeshua. During my earlier years, however, I didn’t know I was missing anything. My relationship with God felt amazing.
I had not yet experienced that aspect of God that translates our interactions and communications into some kind of spiritually inexplicable interface with the Holy One. Through this mediation we feel God’s Presence in a way not otherwise possible. Through this interface with the Holy we understand that He can be way up there and still know every hair on our head. There is no human vocabulary for comprehending or fully describing such divinity.
I have often heard my Jewish brothers and sisters say, “I don’t need a middle man (Jesus). I can speak directly to God.” This is true, but such a statement also highlights how our vocabulary is not able to describe what I’m trying to explain. God/Yeshua are one and the same. Yet it is in His human form (Yeshua) and through that gift of His Son’s connection to our humanity that we have been given a deeper ability to experience the Divine.
It is Yeshua who transforms our efforts to maintain our relationship with God into intimate connection, and vice versa, enables us to feel His closeness. He is the translator and the embodiment here on earth of God’s grandeur, the grandeur that is not just visible in the mountains and glaciers, but also, in the reality of His magnificence as the Messiah. Through Yeshua, God meets us where we are and creates the ability for each of us to come into relationship with Him.
So on the Alaskan cruise, the physical beauty of my surroundings was an obvious reminder of God’s Presence, the manifestation of God that I had experienced through most of my life. Such overwhelming beauty reinforced my understanding of a spiritual force beyond our reach whose power is limitless, a Father so powerful that we can rest in His magnitude and find peace, ultimately if not now.
By contrast, to feel the intimacy of Yeshua we need to do our part, as would be necessary in any intimate relationship. Scripture reading, prayer, times with God through word and song bring us close to God the Almighty. Doing so with the understanding of Yeshua’s reality as our promised Messiah goes even further to connect us closely to God’s Presence in a way that is not like the other ways we relate to God. Once Yeshua is inscribed in our heart, our relationship is as bride and Groom, bringing our daily activities to a level of intimacy with the Divine.
We don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know what we’re missing until we have it. Once we have it, then we know and are not fulfilled without it.
For those of you reading this Shabbat encouragement who have found the truth in Yeshua, I know you can relate. To those of you reading this who have not had this personal experience with Yeshua, it takes faith to believe what I am saying. I feel as the lyrics in that old song, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now. . . ,“ without and with Yeshua.
Before I knew Yeshua I was even blessed at that time to understand that there is God. He’s real. I didn’t know there was more in that relationship until I discovered that Yeshua is who He said He was, the promised Messiah. I wasn’t even seeking anything more. I was totally fine knowing God as I did. Just by being curious, somehow in a way that is mind blowing, God brought me to know His Son. Who knew??
God did, and He brought me into this deeper understanding of His magnificence. I became part of His plan to bring each of us into this knowledge if we so choose. All we have to do is ask.
Now that’s the Big Wow. . .