I have recently been in one of those seasons of serving at memorial services. One of the songs that is frequently used is Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine.” Each time I hear it, the refrain really hits my heart:
Surrounded by your glory what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of you be still?
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine . . . I can only imagine!
In an environment where emotions are already running high, these lovely lyrics amp things up even higher. Often, when the song has ended, I will take everyone back to the Scriptures and these incredible words from the inspired pen of the apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth:
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
The apostle Paul is reminding the believer of the truths of the Gospel under the headings of “Already” and “Not Yet.” The Christian believer already has the truths of the Gospel in view, things which the unbelieving world knows nothing about because those who do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them do not have eyes to see, or ears to hear, or minds to comprehend God’s truth (1 Corinthians 2:14). And yet the wisdom of the world is no match for the wisdom of the Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us.
Under the banner of “Not Yet,” Paul reminds the believer that the best is yet to come. No matter how well you see and understand the Gospel today, it is still somewhat shadowed and dim, even to the eye of faith. But one day, when we reach the other side, we will see, hear, and know at the deepest level. When we are surrounded by the glory of our God, we shall stand before Him and know fully, even as we are fully known by Him (1 Corinthians 13:12).
What a comfort Paul gives us in our present state: to look forward to the promised state to come! Indeed, it is unimaginable. God, according to His good pleasure, rains down blessing after blessing in the life of the believer—not because of anything we have done, but because of His kindness and mercy.
Please understand that I am not referring here to the supposed physical blessings, such as health and wealth, which are promised by the teachers of the so-called “prosperity gospel.” I am speaking of the true promise of Scripture, that every spiritual blessing is found in Christ and available for every believer to experience moment by moment, because they have, by grace through faith, been given eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds to conceive the “Already” and “Not Yet” promises of God.
And as awesome as it is to live in the truth of the Gospel today, I can only imagine what it will be like when we get to the other side and stand in His presence!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!