Sunday School Lessons

Impossible to Appreciate Without Experiencing It

I remember visiting Grand Canyon some years ago, in Arizona.  We all know that it’s a really big hole in the ground, but until getting there and experiencing it for myself, I couldn’t fully appreciate how huge it was.

There was another time when my wife and I were taking an airplane tour over a glacier in Alaska.  We were flying through a valley (which must have been big enough for the little plane that we were in to fly through safely), when we came to the end of it and found that it opened up into an enormous canyon, perhaps a thousand times larger.  This was an amazing experience, but I have a problem with describing them: I probably can’t make you feel the way that I did unless you experienced that same tour – or something similar – for yourself.

Let’s take a look at a few verses from 2 Chronicles 9:

When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard.
2 Chronicles 9:3‭-‬6 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/2ch.9.3-6.NIV

When it comes to God’s glory, I wonder if we have the same problem as the Queen of Sheba had?  We can be told about God, and we might even indirectly experience a fraction of His glory, but we can’t fully appreciate it until we get to Heaven and are confronted with the completeness of it (or at least more than we have here on earth).  When we are welcomed into God’s presence, I’m convinced that it will be far more amazing than anything we have ever known here in this mortal life.

In fact, I think that some people probably undersell Heaven in the same way.  They limit what they imagine it to be what we see in this pale shadow of a universe, and don’t understand that what is waiting for us is more than what we know so far.

In the same way, for those who don’t know Jesus yet, His followers can tell them how great it is to be part of the family of God, but until others try it out for themselves, they won’t understand it completely.  The good news is that – once we teach other people about Jesus – they have the same opportunity as this queen: They have everything they need to see what life with Jesus is like for themselves.  (Or, if you haven’t gotten to know Jesus Christ, this offer is wide open for you to try out, yourself.)

I appreciate that the human mind struggles with the infinite.  Mathematicians try to wrangle with sets and numbers that are limitless, but I’m not sure if even they can wrap their minds around real things that are unbounded.  We can mentally agree that there is more than we know, including things that we don’t even know that we don’t know, but – by definition – we can’t fully fathom what those things are.

Instead of trying to figure God out, though, and unsuccessfully trying to get ten steps (or even one step) ahead of Him, let us accept that He has more in store (both in our understanding of His nature, and in what He has waiting for us) than we will ever understand in these current lives.  This takes an element of trust, but if what we can observe in history is any clue, what is waiting for us will be more spectacular than anything we can imagine today!


From Sunday School lesson prepared for July 4, 2021

References:

  • The Lookout, July 4, 2021 © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
  • Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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