Today I found myself humming an old hymn that we used to sing in our church when I was young – “He lives.” It’s funny how many times we can sing a song and never really pay attention to the words. Here are some of the words:
I see His hand in mercy,
I hear his voice of cheer,
And just the time I need him,
He’s always near.
He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.” Alfred Ackley
Like me, you may have heard many sermons about what it means to “walk with God.” The Bible says that Enoch and Adam both walked with God, but what does that really mean? Some will say that it is a literal translation – that God walked beside each one of these men here on earth. Others will say that it is a metaphor for having a close, loving relationship with God. Perhaps they are both right, but it has come to mean something else to me.
Years ago, a close friend of mine wrote an essay that I just couldn’t understand at the time. He talked about what happens when a student and that which he studies become one in the same. I thought this was an absurd idea! Was he saying that if we study history long enough, we become history? That didn’t make any sense to me. If we study math, do we become math? I’ve actually thought about it many times over that last couple of decades and finally realized that he meant this in the spiritual realm only, not in the physical “real” world around us. In that context, it finally made sense to me. How wonderful to reach a time in our lives when we become one and the same with God – when we no longer know where we stop and God begins! Could that be what Jesus meant when he said, “The Father and I are One?” Every now and then, I have a brief and fleeting moment in which I comprehend what Jesus meant. I catch sight of what it means to love God so completely that there is nothing else but love. In that moment, everything makes sense and is so glorious that there are no words to describe it.
The Apostle Paul wrote that we only know in part now – we are limited by our earthly minds. We can’t comprehend the whole story yet, but someday we will. Paul goes on to say that when that which is perfect has finally come, we are whole and our parts cease to be. That is when the student and that which he studies become one. And the brief and fleeting moments when I have experienced that continue to lead me to a full realization of what that will be like. For me, that is what is meant by “heaven.”