Wednesday, November 16, 2005

High Places of Blessing ~ Ephesians 3b

3How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. 4Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. 5Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) 6He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
--Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)

My Heavenly Father loves me. He loves me enough to share His son, my Master, Jesus Christ. If He loved me enough for that, why wouldn’t He offer to me the same things He gives His Son.

God takes me to the high places of blessing. Whatever could that mean? Does that mean I’ll have all the physical things I’ll ever need? A nice house? Good health? What did it mean for Jesus?

Wait a minute! Jesus died! He suffered a horrible death. He came from heaven, lived a short time on earth, suffered and died. That doesn’t sound like high places of blessings!

According to John 3:16, God gave His Son so that I would not have to perish, but have eternal life. Hmm. I know I’ll die someday, unless the Lord returns before then. So, this is a spiritual type of perishing. An eternity without God to the point of suffering from the loss of His presence. Therefore, if eternal life is spiritual, the high places of blessing must be spiritual, too.

I love the thought of soaring toward heaven hanging onto my Father’s arm. Much like Lois Lane, who clung to Superman while he showed her his world. And like Lois, if I hang on, I’ll not be affected by the elements, but remain safe and warm. I’m more like Lois than I dare to admit. There she is, pressed against her only safety, reveling in his loving gaze, nothing can happen to her as long as she holds on. And what does she do? She tests her boundaries. How far can she slip away from him without falling. She finds, as long as she’s making some kind of contact—even fingertip to fingertip—that she herself remains superhuman and can defy gravity. But she goes too far. She lets go, thinking she now possesses his ability to fly. Nope. She plummets to earth, screaming in terror, her gauzy ball gown tangling around her body like a shroud.

I’m going to leave Lois there for a minute and contemplate what all that means for me. God has given me this incredible gift. He’s allowed me into His world. As long as I remain in contact with Him, cling to Him, I can enjoy the safety of His presence. If I test my boundaries, and let go to fly on my own, I’ll plummet toward the world. I’m not strong enough to suspend myself in the high places. So gravity takes over and the world pulls me back, back into its limitations, away from my Father’s outreached hand.

So, if I let go, does that mean I’m lost forever, doomed to smack into the hard ground never to see my God again?

When we last saw Lois, she was plummeting toward the earth. I’m sure she felt lost, alone, separated from the safety of Superman’s presence. The way she’s screaming certainly suggests that. But in a heartbeat, she’s rescued, gathered once more in the Man of Steele’s arms, suspended in space. Time stands still.

God won’t let me plummet. Even if I let go, even if I rebelliously sin, even if I choose to remain separated from Him, He rescues me before I smack the hard ground. He gathers me in His strong arms, looks lovingly into my eyes, forgives me, and once again takes me to the high places of blessing.

What does that mean? Is it physical blessing? No. The rest of that verse says it plainly. These are high places of blessing…in Him. In His presence, His safety, His warmth. The elements are still out there, swirling masses of cold air surrounding my body. The world still revolves. Stuff still happens. But I can handle it as long as I cling to my Father’s arm and don’t try to deal with it on my own.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for this promise, that You take me to the high places of blessing…in You. I’m so unworthy of Your love and Your presence, yet You choose to show me Your world. You want to share eternity with me so much, that You allow me to get a glimpse of what it will be like to be near You always. Help me to never let go of Your hand again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.