In my last blog post, I closed with these words: “In Jesus, there is always more to life.” My family recently spent some vacation time in Maine, and it provided me ample opportunity to ponder this “more to life” and what it means.
One day, when there was a break in the summer rain, we decided to get the kids out of the house and go for a nature walk at a nearby campground. Maine is known for its towering “cathedral pines,” and our little trail guided us right through them. The grandeur of these massive trees enveloped us as we entered deeper and deeper into the forest. The air smelled like Christmas. The temperature was a perfect 70 degrees. With a great many oohs and ahhs, the children soaked it in. For a moment, it was glorious.
But then, it wasn’t.
The baby started crying. My next youngest son ate a bright red berry and we had no clue if it was poisonous or not. My daughter started whining for food. My oldest son started complaining that he was tired. Then they all started fighting. Then my second-youngest son lost his shoes in the woods. Then my daughter lost the cap on her water bottle. Of course, the baby continued to cry, until our lovely day ended up a bit of a disaster!
What Kind of God Is This?
When we finally got back to our car, my wife said, “Well, at least it was nice for about 10 minutes.”
That got me thinking, and on the car ride back to our lodge, I had a little chat with God. “10 minutes? That’s all you could give me? You could have wooed me in those woods. You could have taken my breath away. You could have given me rest – but you didn’t. Instead, you gave me 10 minutes. Why, Lord? Why? Why does it always have to be this way?”
What do you think? Is our God really a God of outlandish gratuity, a God who fills our cups to overflowing, a God of more, if He can only give me 10 minutes of peace with the pine trees?
Paradoxically, I think the answer is yes.
A God of More
God really does desire to give us more. Sometimes He bursts open the doors of heaven and lets His glory pour out all over us. Sometimes He gives us more than we could ever hope for or remotely dream of. But, as I learned among the great pines, sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes His glory trickles out. Sometimes we want a rushing river but all we get is a babbling brook.
As I continued to pray about this, I came to realize that the brook doesn’t mean that God has changed His mind. He doesn’t cease to be the gratuitous God that He is simply because we don’t always get as much as we want from Him. Any time we experience peace, glory, love, beauty, or any good thing, that’s the “more” of heaven breaking in. Whether it’s for 10 minutes or 10 hours, it’s a generous gift. God doesn’t have to let heaven break in at all, but He does. That’s the good God He is.
Also, the “something more” that He freely offers us is not always the “more” of this world. A babbling brook is evidence of a larger body of water. Heaven is the only place where all of our desires are ultimately and definitively fulfilled. It’s heaven we are made for, not all this, not even the cathedral pines.
When we step into that resplendent glory, there will be no doubt about the kind of God we have. Our task then is to trust that the 10 minutes we get aren’t proof of a God who offers just enough. Instead, they’re proof of a God who has a bounty of gifts ready and waiting.