One of my favorite quotes comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
Just think of how profound a thought that is. Someone actually has the audacity to think that God is a personality that can be enjoyed. That is at least a light year or two away from any notion I had of God when I was younger.
I was taught to respect him, even to fear him, as in dread him, but never was I ever given the notion that I could enjoy him. In all honesty, it is something I have even wrestled with at times as an adult. Who says our early years don’t shape us?
I find that I am not alone. I’ve discovered there are a lot of us out there. Some have even kicked God right out of their lives because they couldn’t, or wouldn’t deal with his otherness; the fact that he is so different than us.
He is holy, and, well, we’re not so much. A lot of the time we’re not even too sure what it means to be holy. However, we know it’s vastly different than what we are, at least sometimes. So, there is this great gulf fixed between us. Enjoy him? I can’t even feel close to him. How am I supposed to enjoy him?
When I was a kid, someone wanted me to get acquainted with their dog; their big, mean-looking dog. They said, “Go ahead and pet him. He’s really very friendly. He’ll enjoy you!”
I thought, “Oh yeah. How? By seeing what I taste like?”
I wasn’t about to take the first step in his direction. My idea was that it would just be better if he enjoyed me from afar.
That’s where some people are, regarding God. I had a man tell me recently that he and God had an agreement; he would leave God alone, and God would leave him alone.
Did you hear the story about the guy that fell over a cliff? He was on his way to the bottom when he chanced to grab hold of an available tree branch, to which he held on for dear life.
He knew he couldn’t hold on for long, so he began yelling for help. “Can anybody up there help me?” To his surprise, he got an answer.
A booming voice responded to him, “Let go!”
To which he replied, “Let go? Who are you?”
The answer came back, “I am God. Let go!”
After a few nervous seconds, which must have seemed like an eternity to the cliff’s new inhabitant, the guy came back with another question, “Is there anyone else up there?”
But, enough about our personal misgivings. Let’s get back to the premise. If God can really be enjoyed, how can we make that a reality in our own lives? Uniquely enough, the answer is found in the stories just told about the dog and the cliff dweller.
A step in the dog’s direction would have erased all my fears of the temperament and intentions of that particular canine. Instead of continuing to fear, a step in his direction would have introduced me to my next best friend.
And all the reluctant cliff dweller had to do to experience God’s reliability was to follow his directive, and let go.
Simple, right? Actually, it is. Jesus, God in the flesh, put it to us in this way, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
And that’s how we can enjoy God forever.