Last week, my husband and I packed our three children into the minivan to make a two-day trek to Florida. After escaping frozen Minnesota, our van hurtled down the highway slicing through Iowa’s brown farm fields. The sun, still golden, dipped closer to the horizon. Dark grey clouds cloaked most of the sun’s fading light. But ray after ray after ray of pale shimmering light shot down through the clouds like spotlights illuminating barns and trees and basking the brown, barren landscape with beauty.
The thought of catching a glimpse of heaven breaking through to earth brought me back to a younger version of myself staring at a similar sky with awe and thinking similar thoughts.
At that time, heaven seemed far off. God was in some kingdom that was far beyond this world. Far away and unreachable except for an occasional breakthrough. Out there. Our Father who art in Heaven. Some of us left him there. In heaven.
Something is happening to my heart these days. Something changes, maybe everything changes, when I realize that God is not far off and remote and untouchable but is with me. These days, when I pray the Lord’s Prayer, I find myself praying to a God who is in Heaven and who is right here, who is out there and who is in me and around me and everyone else.
“You hem me in–behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?”
~ Psalm 139:5-7
My questions cannot separate me
from your presence–
you have gone
before me, behind me,
Even when I cannot tell you
who you are–
you are with me,
behind me, and before me.
When I don’t know
what lies ahead–
you are before me, behind me,
And maybe this with-me-ness
Is that all I need to know for now?