I’m going to be honest right from the beginning. I’ve been a bit of an emotional mess during these last couple of weeks. Even now, as I listen to the peaceful sounds of crickets outside my open window, I feel this tension in my chest. It feels heavy and achy, but it also feels hopeful and warm. I’ve been feeling this way since I returned to campus several weeks ago.
As a returning student, I can’t help but see campus life through the eyes of what used to be. In some ways, it feels like I’m seeing double. I see the mostly empty cafeteria in sharp contrast to the packed place I once knew. The smiles I used to see on the promenade are now hidden behind masks, and the only indication of emotion is expressed in eyes, postures and voices. The singing, hugs and closeness I experienced last year are currently postponed as we all work together to protect each other from a virus that has taken way too many lives. My heart aches and is heavy as I see daily reminders of how different this current season is. I’m constantly reminded of the now.
Yet, my heart is also hopeful and warm because I continue seeing little glimpses of Heaven. It’s in the golden sunrise and the purple sunset. It’s in the gentle breeze that’s currently blowing through my window as the crickets sing their song. It’s in the smiling eyes of someone studying with me in the library, and it’s in the raw and honest stories of how God has been beautifully breaking, molding and reshaping the lives of my friends during this season. It’s in these moments that I catch glimpses of Heaven, somehow shining into this earthly space. These moments remind me of the not yet.
Friend, doesn’t Jesus feel this too? His eagerly anticipated heavenly reunion with hugs and closeness has been delayed, and His desire for harmony and perfect peace is daily disrupted by a virus of sin and an earthly quarantine. Our God feels the hate, sorrow, joy and laughter that are all running parallel in this time of tension. Each feeling is a constant reminder of the now and a gentle whisper of the not yet.
Inside of this place and amid this tension, Jesus stoops low and sits on my level. He joins me on the floor of my heart and says, “I’m hurting too.”
God can meet me in this place because He has felt what I am feeling—and on a much grander scale than I could ever imagine. Jesus created this world, died to save it and then daily engages in our spaces of joy and pain because He believes pursuing us is worth it. He knows that the current reality, filled with small glimpses of Heaven and painful reminders of Earth, is but a small moment in comparison with what is to come.
He sees you, friend. Jesus chose to make His home in our humanity. He’s sitting with you when you hit rock bottom, when the now seems overwhelming. He’s standing beside you on the mountain when you catch a holy glimpse of what is to come. I invite you to join me in embracing this beautiful tension. There is beauty in the humanness of the now and in the glory of the not yet.
Written by David Wolf