The Garden of God
Beauty For Ashes Part 5 - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 1 - COME INTO MY GARDEN
"Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits" (Song 4:16). "I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse" (Song 5:1).
"The whole earth is full of his glory", said the prophet; and in this age of clamor and bustle, when a thousand conflicting voices would invade our hearts and minds to distract us or distort our vision, it would do us all good to draw aside to hear a word from the book of nature... God's creation. But always, of course, in the context of the Bible, the book of New Creation. For the Bible teaches us that "the field" in which the seed of New Creation life is planted, is the world which is now under the curse. "The field is the world", Jesus said (Matt. 13:38). How wonderful to know that the old creation has become the seed plot of the New Creation, and God is the Creator of both; recognizing, of course, that the old creation has become subject to futility by reason of man's Fall. And so right here in the midst of the old creation God is able to speak to us out from that environment. Jesus said to us, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow..." (Matt 6:28). And again, "I am the vine, ye are the branches..." (Jn. 15:5) . Through these natural things God would point us to reality, to the New Creation... and through them unfold to us something glorious from the Spirit of Truth. It is only after the natural instrument has served its purpose in the will of God that God removes it. Therefore He has removed the serpent of brass, and the ark of the covenant, and the golden candlestick... and every other form of ritual, type, and shadow that belongs to a past order. But the written Word of God remains with us; and so does the book of old creation. So must they remain until the full glory and purpose for which they were given is manifested, and the New Creation shines forth in all its brilliance as the very expression of the thought and heart of God. Some would speak of the written Word as though it were something final and complete in itself. But not so. I am confident our present canon of 66 books is what God intended.. But in reality the Word of God goes far beyond the scriptures; and the written Word is not fulfilled in God's intention until it has been written in the hearts and minds of God's people. God said, "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts" (Heb. 8:10). God's Word has been written in nature, and it has been written on paper... but its ultimate fulfillment comes when it is written in "flesh". And so we read, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1:14).
But we must understand that the purpose of His incarnation in flesh was not final in itself either. For after having "finished the work" that the Father gave Him to do on earth, He ascended into the heavens to engage in a "more excellent ministry" from the throne of God. He ministers the same Spirit of Truth that He walked in when He was here... but now He is ministering out from the true Sanctuary in Heaven, to His own who are in the earth, as "the Mediator of a better covenant" (Heb 8:6). In consequence of this ministry from the throne, His redeemed in the earth are to become His very own living epistles, "known and read of all men: ...manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God" (2 Cor. 3:2, 3). We have been very anxious to get the world to read our Bible--and rightly so. I believe God intends that all people should have His Word written in their own language. It was the printing of the Bible in the language of the people that caused the light of the gospel to shine forth in the world about us, throughout the history of the Church... and especially in the tumultuous period of the Reformation. But the fact remains, and grows more glaring year after year, that we are faced with an impossible task if we conclude that the distribution of more Bibles and more Christian literature is God's answer to a perishing world. The world does read the Church... they always enjoy reading the Church--and sad to say they are often greatly disillusioned with what they read, and what they see. And not until the Church has become "the epistle of Christ" are the nations going to hear and see the Christ of the Bible. We may train and equip and organize and finance the workers of God, but it is only the reflection of His glory in His people that will change the hearts of men.
What Is God Looking For?
If we know what God is looking for, and what He is waiting for, we would scrap all those theories and dates about the coming of the Lord. If we know for sure that our Lord Jesus is on the throne of glory, interceding for His people to bring them into the fulness of God's intention... then we would be more concerned that His intention be realized than in speculating about when He is coming back. What is He waiting for? And what is He coming back for? And what is He doing about it right now? He is waiting for a family of sons and daughters in His image and likeness. He is preparing an army who will overcome "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:11) He is building a habitation for Himself, a building made up of "living stones", a temple "not made with hands". He has found "a pearl of great price" a pearl that is formed from a mere grain of sand, but transformed into a gem, by marvelous grace. For it is the Spirit of God who takes the virtues of the living Christ and manifests them in His Church to bring about this precious gem. He is cleansing for Himself a Church, "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing..." And how? "With the washing of water by the word" (Eph. 5:26). He looks for a Holy Bride, and John saw her in prophetic vision coming down out of heaven, and "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. 21:2; see 2 Cor. 11:2). He looks for fruit from the Vine that was planted in the earth; for Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit" (Jn. 15:5). For God is not only Architect, Builder, and Artificer... He is also Bridegroom, and Gardener. And so He tells us, "I am waiting for the precious fruit of the earth." He is not waiting around for the clock to strike the midnight hour. He is waiting for something that will be the fulfillment of His heart's desire, His holy Church, His spotless Bride, His Pearl of great price, His precious Fruit. And while he is waiting for that, He is diligently preparing His people for "the praise of His glory". And because He patiently waits for that, He admonishes us... "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (Jas. 5:8)
Concerning Times and Seasons
In this writing we are going to emphasize the Gardener aspect of His appearing. All evangelical Christians are assured that this is harvest time. And so we are going to speak about God's Garden particularly as we see it in harvest time. He wants us to understand clearly what He is after when He comes into His Garden in harvest time. If He visits His Garden in winter He doesn't expect to see much in the way of life. Nevertheless He does encourage us to walk in faithfulness... in season, and out of season. He would encourage us to have hope. He would remind us that winter is a promise of spring and new life. When He comes in spring time, the waters begin to flow and we rejoice in the sense of His blessing. God delights in blessing His people. It's spring time! The long dreary days of winter are past, and the expectation of new life is present everywhere. When He comes in summer, there is heat and dryness; but mingled here and there He gives showers of blessing, and lots of sunshine; for He knows this is what we need for our maturing. But when He comes in harvest time He looks for one thing, and one thing only. He looks for "the precious fruit of the earth". And because I am assured this is harvest time, I believe God wants to emphasize what He is looking for in the time of harvest lest we become discouraged or perplexed because of our dryness. He knows all about that because it was He that caused it.
He caused it! And why? Because He wants to bring forth good fruit in His Garden. And though we recognize there are different seasons we experience in our personal lives, we believe it is now harvest time historically as far as the corporate body of Christ is concerned. And so as we continue to praise Him for every season of refreshing He brings in our walk with Him, we must never forget God's intention in each and every season. No matter what season we are in right now, we must remember that God's intention is to bring forth a harvest that will satisfy the desire of His own heart. There is a lot of confusion among God's people these days, as to what God may or may not be doing at this time. We hear questions like this: "Is this thing of God? Is this blessing from God?" But let us become more acquainted with the heart of God, and we will discover what He is after... And then, if our hearts and minds are in tune with His heart and mind, questions like these will matter little or nothing. Of course He is blessing His people; but let us be so tuned in with Him that no matter how greatly He blesses us, our response to that blessing is simply this:
"Thank you Lord for Thy blessings; but may I not fall short of the greatest blessing of all, to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, that I might become a 'vessel unto honour'. For I know if I fail to become the gold and silver Thou art looking for, all the blessings showered upon me will have been in vain. Guard my heart lest Thy blessings blind my eyes to Thy desire and intention in my life, that I might come forth in Thy image and likeness."
Truly the prophet tells us, "Thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isa. 58:11), But if it is harvest time, then let us know for sure that the Gardener is looking for one thing in this great hour, and that is fruit... fruit that is nothing less than the reproduction of His own character and nature in the hearts of His people. Anything less than this cannot delight the heart of the Gardener who planted the incorruptible seed of truth within His people, and is waiting patiently for that seed, through His own care and watchfulness, to bring forth "after its kind". It is the law of the old creation, and it is the law of the New Creation... the seed must bring forth "after its kind". Let us never forget that the Seed is Christ and God cannot be satisfied with a harvest that does not eventually bring forth the character and quality and nature of Christ in His people.
The Invisible Things of God
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. 1:20).
What a tremendous thing is this! That in everything God made we have an expression of some particular aspect of God's glory and wisdom--so man might see and hear and come to know God. And until the hearts of men became totally darkened through willful sin and disobedience; what God created became God's Word to them. It was the only Bible men had in those early beginnings. The apostle tells us how man lost this capacity to know God: "When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Rom. 1:21). This started man on his long road to apostasy, from which he has never recovered. Instead of worshipping God, they began to worship the things He had created. Instead of thanking Him for the beautiful things He had given, they began to worship those beautiful things. They made much of the gifts He had given, but dishonored the Giver. And this is just as evident in so-called Christian nations as it is among the heathen. When anything that God made comes between man and his Creator, it is idolatry. Materialism is idolatry. Humanism is idolatry. Adulating some great gift or some gifted minister that God set in the Church to edify the body of Christ, is idolatry. God has created good things for man, and continues to give him wonderful gifts and blessings, that through these things he might discover God, and come to know Him better. "Hear ye Him" is the voice of scripture, as well as the voice of nature. What He made had its origin in the realm of the invisible, but it is not to be venerated as God. "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb. 11:2). God did not create the universe out of nothing. He drew from the invisible realm--attributes, qualities, areas of wisdom and knowledge, that are inherent in Himself. Christ is in reality that Word, the Logos... the One through whom God made all things (Jn. 1:3; Heb. 1:2). He is the ultimate expression of the heart and mind of God. Some boldly say, "The Bible is God's final revelation to men, and there is no revelation apart from the Word". This is true if we recognize that the writers of scripture point to the Word Himself, the Logos, as the One who came into the world as the Ultimate Word of God. The scriptures were written by inspiration of the Spirit and can only be understood with the mind of the Spirit. And so the apostle Paul said, "...which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Cor. 2:13). I understand the thought is, "...combining spiritual things with spiritual". Paul was given the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that he was able to reach out in realms of the Spirit, and bring forth spiritual truths to those who had received a spiritual mind by new birth. We are utterly dependent upon the Holy Spirit for anything we receive from God, by way of knowing and understanding truth. And as our eyes are anointed with the eye-salve of the Spirit, and our ears are opened to hear His voice, only then do we hear the voice of Truth. Only then do we understand the "mysteries" of God. We see the whole earth to be filled with His glory (Isa. 6:3); for all things were created to be a praise and glory to God who created them.
Creation's Song of Praise
The prophet Isaiah was caught away in the Spirit and said, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isa. 6:3). And the Psalmist calls upon all creation to show forth the excellencies of their Creator--
"Praise ye him, all his angels:
Praise ye him, all his hosts.
Praise ye him, sun and moon:
Praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens,
And ye waters that be above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the LORD:
For he commanded, and they were created.
He hath also established them for ever and ever:
He hath made a decree which shall not pass.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
Ye dragons, and all deeps:
Fire, and hail; snow and vapour;
Stormy wind fulfilling his word:
Mountains, and all hills;
Fruitful trees, and all cedars:
Beasts, and all cattle;
Creeping things, and flying fowl:
Kings of the earth, and all people;
Princes, and all judges of the earth:
Both young men, and maidens;
Old men, and children:
Let them praise the name of the LORD:
For his name alone is excellent;
His glory is above the earth and heaven"
We do not have to look far in this passage to see what God considers to be true praise. How can all created things praise Him? How can even inanimate things or impersonal things praise Him? Only as each creature in his own place and calling gives expression to that aspect of glory that God endowed him with in creation: the sun by shining; the moon by reflecting the glory of the sun; the stars by adorning the evening sky and giving direction and guidance to man; the fire by consuming; the wind by blowing; the tree by waving its leaves, and bringing forth its fruit for man, or in providing lumber for his home; the birds by singing; or the judge by executing justice in the earth; the young men and maidens, old men and children... each by exalting the Lord in word and in deed, in songs of praise--and much more than that--in their whole manner of life. We were created to manifest and show forth the living God in the earth, and if we are not doing that, we are not praising God. Praise in too many cases has become a ritual the people go through for a few moments as they gather together in church--only to leave the place of assembly to go about their own selfish interests the rest of the week.
True praise is simply that manner of life one lives in unison with his Lord, as he fulfills his God-ordained purpose for living. He is not emulating the other, or desiring the place occupied by another--but simply giving expression to the created life and calling that God gives to every man. And so is fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah, "The people that shall be created shall praise the LORD" (Psa. 102:18).
According to the nature and character of the New Creation life God has given us, so let us live "to the praise of the glory of his grace" (Eph. 1:6, 12). Some are so intent upon emulating the ways of others that they fail to fulfill the specific purpose that God has in mind for them. The chirp of the sparrow is just as pleasing to God as the honk of the Canada goose, because it is fulfilling the purpose for which God created it. The robin or the lark would be entirely out of their element if they attempted to bark like the dog, or honk like the goose. He is humble who abides faithfully in his calling before the Lord, and proud if he attempts to portray himself as something other than God created him to be. The peacock has a name for being proud, when he spreads his feathers for all to admire. If he had knowledge enough to know what people are thinking, he would wonder why they consider he is proud for having such gorgeous feathers. He sees nothing special about himself. There is no vainglory, no pride, no desire to emulate the eagle or the crane or the swallow... no attempt whatever to be a little prettier or a little more gorgeous than the way God made him. He simply spreads his feathers, and gives glory to the God who created him. But a proud-hearted man looks on and surmises: "See how proud he is!".
God Must Reveal Himself
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (pitched His tent) among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1:1, 14). Because He is God, He must make Himself known, He must reveal Himself. He is essentially Life, inherent Life, and Life must show itself to be alive. That Life is Light. Light must shine forth, for light is self-revealing. The Name of God speaks of all that He is in the nature of His being; but the Word speaks of this same God declared and spoken forth. And so we read, "For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (Psa. 138:2). Why is the Word above His Name? Because God is more glorious in the expression of His being, than He is in secluding Himself from His creation. What is a word, but the declaration and unfolding of that which is in your heart and mind? Words fail us many times, because of our inadequacy to say clearly what we mean. But in Christ the Logos, the Word, the expression of God's heart and being was so complete that the Word was Himself God, shining forth in the face of Jesus Christ:
"The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way,
Before his works of old.
I was set up (anointed) from everlasting,
From the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth;
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills was I set forth:
While as yet he had not made the earth,
Nor the fields, nor the highest part
Of the dust of the world.
When he prepared the heavens, I was there;
When he set a compass upon the face of the depth;
When he established the clouds above;
When he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
When he gave to the sea his decree,
That the waters should not pass his commandment:
When he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Then I was by him, as one brought up with him:
And I was daily his delight,
Rejoicing always before him;
Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth;
And my delights were with the sons of men"
He was there, the Logos, the Word of the eternal God... yearning for expression, for manifestation, for the unfolding of the Father's heart. He was there in every phase of the creative work of God. "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made" (Jn. 1:3). He was the Divine Artificer, seemingly separate from God because He proceeded from Him to live with men... but He was the Word of the Father in flesh. And so fully and completely did He reveal the Father that there was nothing lacking of the character and nature of God in our Lord Jesus when He walked here in the earth.
Old Creation ... the Seed Plot of the New
We have emphasized that God must fully reveal Himself to His creation, because of who He is. It was with purpose and design, therefore, that God did not annihilate the old creation and then begin to create a new one. He needed both creations... the one that fell into futility, and the one that He would raise to life and glory. The old creation became the fertile soil in which He would drop the seed which would bring forth the new. The old was to become the womb, out of which a New Creation would be born, And the old creation is even now in the bondage of corruption and decay, and travailing in birth-pangs, yearning for the deliverance that shall come with "the manifestation of the sons of God" (See Rom. 8:19-21).
We may be inclined to look upon the outflow of God's love in Redemption merely as the divine remedy for the Fall. True, it is all of that, and we must for ever praise Him for His glorious Redemption. But it is much more than a remedy. For the plan of Redemption preceded the creation of man, and the fall of man. God had an "eternal purpose" concerning His chosen ones, even "before the foundation of the world" (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 1:4; See Ch. 3:11). And in the Book of Revelation we see the Lamb as One "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev.13:8). God saw fit to use the old creation, and fallen man in particular, as the vessel through whom He would reveal the fulness and completeness of His glory. How shall we know the fulness of light, if we have not known the darkness? How shall we know the greatness of God's longsuffering and patience, except he restrains Himself in painful forbearance during the reign of evil? How shall we know the infinite depths of His love, except through the revelation of the Cross, where God lavished His mercy and compassion on rebels such as you and me? God needed His infinite plan of Redemption for the full display of His own unsearchable attributes.
However, we had better not try to figure these things out with our natural mind. By faith we understand the mysteries of God... not because He gives the wisdom to reason it all out, but because we know there is a rest in God when we believe what He has spoken. And so the apostle tells us, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God..." (Heb. 11:3). He goes on to tell us that the things we see were made from the realm of the invisible and leaves it at that. With this kind of "faith understanding", if we may call it that, we "understand" what our greatest scientists cannot understand. They are spending billions of dollars in the hope of making this discovery: How did the universe come into being? We know how; because God has given us a faculty that is beyond that possessed by any of earth's great intellectuals--the faculty of faith. Where our minds can go no further, we can stop right there--and faith becomes the reason we understand. "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light" (Gen. 1:3). Blessed are we if we can learn to stop right there, especially when we realize we are dealing with eternal things--and find true rest and joy in believing what God has spoken.
We know that God allowed the old creation to sink into futility, in expectation of redemption (See Rom. 8:19-21). He causes the Light to shine out of the darkness. Out of the depths of sin and depravity, the righteousness and holiness of God shine forth in amazing grace. In a world of hatred and rebellion against God, He shows forth mercy and compassion and love beyond all the confines of sin and darkness. In man's age-long and persistent rebellion against his Creator, God is showing forth the depths of His patience and longsuffering in a way He could never have done before the fall of man (Rom. 9:22, 23).
But let us beware lest in recognizing these principles we fall into the trap of calling evil good, and good evil. Lest we say that God cannot judge evil, because He designed that man should fall in order that He might redeem him. And lest we say that God made Satan just as he is now, in order to show forth His own glory. All such surmisings are not only vain, but they malign God; and the apostle tells us that those who say such things fall under God's righteous judgments. (See Rom. 3:5-8). (Note: We have said more about The Origin of Evil in the writing, Who are You?).
Redemption, God's Masterpiece
In the heart of the artist or musician or artificer--someone with special creative talents--there is always that inherent desire to bring forth their masterpiece. They try and try again, but remain unsatisfied. There is always that nagging sense of failure... "I haven't done it yet... I'm not satisfied. I cannot rest till I have done my very best... and this is not it!" And yet no matter how many times they try, they generally end up with the feeling, "It could have been better... I must try again".
Now God is the infinite Artist, and Builder, and Architect of all things. Unlike "masters" here in the earth He doesn't try, and try, and try again; but often it seems that way. And the evolutionist would like us to imagine that's the way it is. We might get the impression that God tried to make a perfect man when He made Adam... and failed. That He tried to bring forth a holy nation in Israel... and failed. That He tried to establish Aaron in a holy priesthood... and failed. That He tried to set up a powerful kingdom in David, or Solomon... and failed. But it was not that way. Rather He was demonstrating over and over again the futility of man, and the inability of man to maintain order and beauty in a fallen creation. But underlying all this was the scarlet thread of Redemption, while He waited in great patience and longsuffering for the day when He Himself would come on the scene, and bring forth the ultimate Masterpiece of His creative hands.
And so we have the story of Redemption. It is there that God poured everything He had into the creative work of His hands, and found rest and delight in a people whom He created for His glory, For the apostle Paul tells us that "We are His workmanship" (Eph. 2:10). To bring about our Redemption, God poured everything He had, everything He is... into the redemption of His people. So in reality "We are His Masterpiece!" It cost God everything He had... even His only Begotten Son. And we will never fully appreciate the glory of Redemption until we understand that it was God Most High who clothed Himself in flesh, and submitted Himself to the hatred and scoffing of His rebellious creatures for their redemption and transformation! And that it was in this great creative work that He found complete fulfillment and could stand back and say, "It is finished". He made this declaration, first from the Cross, and will declare it yet again from His exalted throne in the heavens (Jn. 17:4; 19:30; Rev. 10:7). For what He accomplished at the Cross must yet be consummated in a people made complete in Christ, and conformed to His image. The old creation could manifest but the limited rays of His glory. It took the New Creation for God to manifest the full shining Light of His glory, And the redeemed ones of Adam's race are yet to be revealed to the highest of His celestial creatures, as His ultimate and perfect Masterpiece. No wonder we are told that the angels desire to peer into these things that pertain to our salvation! (1 Pet. 1:12).
And so in redemption:..
We behold God in His infinite depths, as well as God in His infinite heights.
We see Him stooping to lowest realms of darkness, to raise a people into the highest realms of light.
We see the glory of His condescension, as well as the glory of His ascension.
We see the glory of His weakness, as well as the glory of His power.
We see the glory of His emptiness, as well as the glory of His fulness.
We see the glory of His humility, as well as the glory of His exaltation.
We see Him stopping in His steps, to hear the cry of a blind Bartimaeus,
And we see Him riding majestically in the heavens, as the One who has conquered over all the forces of evil.
We see Him riding into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass,
And we see Him ascending in clouds, with power and great glory.
We see a bleeding Lamb, slain for our redemption.
And we see the same Lamb, high and lifted up on the throne of Glory, with angels and cherubim falling down before Him, and the redeemed of the earth crying out..
"Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9).
And it is in and through this strange combination of the weakness of man and the majesty of God Most High, that He is seen as the Master Workman of the New Creation. In a way that no artist or musician has ever been able to do, God has invested everything He has, everything He is, in the people whom He has redeemed for His glory. He can do no more for us--other than to open our eyes and ears and hearts to receive and to perceive the fulness of His salvation. This is a great work, indeed; and for this we continue to cry out, and hope for, and expect. Then will He be fully satisfied. Then will He "rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing" (Zeph. 3:17)
But let us not think for a moment, having come into this fulness of glory, that we have come to the end. In this life, when we come to the end of a matter, or to the end of life... we face deterioration and decay. But in New Creation life--how could we ever exhaust the riches of Him who is infinite and eternal? Even now as partakers of Eternal Life there is to be an expansion of His glory within us, and this must go on throughout eternal ages. Here in this brief period of our lives that we call "time" we can only pause for a moment, and faintly discern a new galaxy of truth and revelation far beyond the limits of our present spiritual constellation. But as surely as we find ourselves caught up unto God and into His eternal purpose, the realms of eternity become more and more real to us. So we must continue to abide in Him, now and all our days, as we anticipate the glory that is yet to be revealed. For how can we know, except in the most incomplete and fragmentary way... what God means when He declares to us "That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:7)? Nor do we say these things to encourage more research in those areas, for it is certain they will remain obscure to us until we become one with Him in His love. Rather, our hope is that He would bring us to greater humility and worship before Him, for knowledge can very easily blind our eyes to the more excellent way, and nurture pride in our hearts.
"Lord cause us to know Thee more and more, and to see Thee as Thou art... as we linger in this brief realm of time for but a moment. Yes, we want to know more about those eternal realms of glory... but help us to understand we will only achieve our goal as we come to know Thee better. Purge our hearts from thoughts of greatness, and cause us to learn patience and humility, and to walk in love here in a world of hatred and malice. For knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up. Grant that with all patience and longsuffering we may come to a place of maturity in this life, rather than seeking to pry open the flowers of grace that Thou hast promised for the ages to come. For as surely as we do that... we may indeed smell a little of its fragrance, but we will never see the glory of the flower in full bloom."
Chapter 2 - Winter...Asleep In the Snow
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