I had a cup of kopi with Jesus at the airport last week.
Neither of us was rushing to fly off anywhere; we simply had an unhurried conversation seated at the viewing gallery, watching planes take off and land.
Before you think I’ve been dreaming or hallucinating, allow me to explain. I had set aside the day to spend time with the Lord, and took along a book entitled “Presence – What if Jesus were really here?” by author R. Thomas Ashbrook.
The book starts with this preface: “People of all religions and non-religions yearn, even if secretly, for a real God, a personal God they can relate to. Instead of religion, we want an actual relationship with a personal God who we find somehow, knowable, experienceable, and most of all, present and involved. We Christians insist that such a relationship is possible with God, the creator of the universe, through His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit given to enable us to believe. Yet I propose that few actually find such a relationship real.”
As I read through the author’s imaginative depiction of how three modern day characters’ lives were changed when Jesus appeared to them, I was reminded afresh that God came as a man, Jesus, to allow people to relate to Him in a tangible, personal way. God is not just seated on His throne far above us, but He is Emmanuel, God with us. Even after His bodily resurrection and ascension to heaven, Jesus is not just seated far away from us at the right hand of the throne of God. We are promised that, through the Holy Spirit, He also dwells in us and with us. As Ephesians 3:16-17 says, God will “strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
And as the Psalmist in Psalm 139 asks rhetorically, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”, we can know that Jesus is not only dwelling in our hearts, He is also present in all our circumstances. We know that He is with us not only in our mountaintop moments, but also on our plateaus, and in our darkest valleys. That, as Psalm 46:1 declares, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.”
So, I started to imagine Jesus seated at the empty space next to me, with a cup of coffee in his hands. I told him how messed up I felt at times. I felt I could hear him say, ever so gently, “I know. And I love you.” We sat there for some time, like one would with an old friend. I didn’t need to say much more, and neither did He, but I left that bench with my heart strangely warmed.
What if you knew that Jesus was seated next to you on the bench, or across from you at the table? What would you say to Him? What would He say to you? As you dwell in His Word, may the Holy Spirit bring to mind His promises and assurances of His presence with you, reminding you that “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)
By Deacon Jan Choo