Read Psalm 144.
We live in an unprecedented age. That little camera above my laptop screen makes it possible for me to talk face-to-face with a coworker on the other side of the country. If I have a question about how to do almost anything in life, someone somewhere has made a YouTube video about it. In fact, the bulk of the world’s collected information is available to stream right to the phone in my pocket.
Never before have we had this kind of access to the help we need when we need it. And yet it’s not enough. There are times in life when a screen just won’t do. We want—no, we crave—personal connection that goes beyond transmitting information back and forth. It’s good to hear from the people we care about, but it’s not the same as actually being with them.
The same is true with God. Scripture and prayer are wonderful ways to connect with Him, but sometimes we need Him to peel back the curtain separating heaven and earth, step through, and come spend some time with us.
This is, in fact, precisely what He does throughout Scripture. Time and time again, God comes to earth and walks among us. He was there in the garden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:5–24; 3:8–24). He came down to inspect the building project at Babel (11:5–9). He joined Abraham for some lunch (18:1–15). He wrestled with Jacob on the banks of the Jabbok River (Genesis 32:22–30). And that’s just a sampling of some of the most blatant examples from the book of Genesis alone. It seems God just can’t help showing up on our doorstep in some form or another.
David longs for God to cross the great divide once again and save him from the hand of his enemies: “Part the heavens, LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke…. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters” (Psalm 144:5, 7).
Our time on this earth is short. David says human beings “are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow” (v. 4), and he’s right. Compared to eternity, our eighty or ninety years are barely the blink of an eye. And yet, God cares for His people, short though their earthly stories may be. Since David knows God’s heart, he knows that asking for Him to come close in his hour of need is not out of the question.
He is not alone. It seems we as a species know instinctively, deep down inside, that we were made for God. We calculate the distance between heaven and earth, and know it should not be so far. People mired in sin and rebellion, who have not yet tasted the grace of God, relish the distance, convincing themselves that God will never come close again or perhaps that He doesn’t really exist at all. But for those who love the Lord, the divide might as well cut right through our hearts. We were made for life with God, and we cannot rest apart from Him.
When Jesus came, it wasn’t quite like the visitations of God in the Old Testament. He was born one of us. The Son of God took on humanity so that heaven and earth mingled together in His DNA. He came to bridge the gap forever, to answer David’s prayer for all of us and bring lasting rescue, once and for all.
You may be thinking, But He left us again. That’s true. About forty days after His resurrection, He ascended to the Father (Acts 1:9). But He didn’t leave His humanity behind. He still dwells in a glorified body transformed from the same stuff you and I are made of. He is still Mary’s Son, still fully human and fully divine, and He is still the one who brings heaven and earth together. Not only that—He sent His Spirit to live within His followers.
The Holy Spirit is a deposit, or a down payment, guaranteeing the future Jesus bought for us (Ephesians 1:14). God is with us, and He will not leave us again—and yet He’s still coming back. This is the tension in which we find ourselves—the already and not yet of the kingdom.
One day, heaven and earth will be rejoined, and God Himself will dwell among His people (Revelation 21:1–3). When that happens, the ache in our hearts will be answered fully. But until then, we meet with God in the pages of His Word and in prayer; we walk in step with the Spirit and listen for the voice of Jesus. In short, we practice life with God. We get ready.