“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Rev. 7:9, RSV).
A great multitude. I used to think on this aspect of everlasting life and actually feel a little concerned. A question would arise in my heart: How is Jesus going to distribute Himself among all the masses of people in heaven? How am I going to transition from intimately relating to Him through His Spirit here on earth, to encountering Him there face to face… and yet having to share Him with everyone else?
Here on earth, I don’t have to share His attention. I get all of it when I pray. I know His gaze is fixed directly on me. Spirit-to-spirit, He connect with me so exquisitely that I flounder to find words that could even come close to expressing the magnificence of His closeness. In heaven, how will He fix His gaze on individuals like me, if He is surrounded by an innumerable multitude? Will I have less of His attention?
One day, He settled it for me. Reading a prophetic article, I came to a description of the very scenario I had wondered about. The author beautifully depicted Jesus in the midst of the sea of worshippers, reaching out through His eyes and enveloping each and every one of them in His loving gaze. In doing so, He was drawing each individual spirit in to drink with Him of deep communion. Taking this in, I was so comforted to come to understand that His infinite nature gives Him the capacity to be unspeakably intimate with an entire multitude.
When Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us, He did not have that capacity. The book of Philippians explains to us that He emptied Himself. While remaining fully God, He submitted Himself to the limitations of a human body. He could only be in one place at a time. He could not have close fellowship with the throngs of people that followed Him; He could only pick twelve men for this purpose.
However, when He rose from the dead and ascended on high, He put off those earthly limitations. He re-assumed the full benefits of His limitless, infinite nature. I recently read a book on heaven that gladdened me even more, helping me grasp this concept.
The author died in a car accident and was later resurrected. He shares the experiences that he had while he was dead. One of the things that most stuck out to me from his story, was his description of the omnipresence of Jesus in heaven. In our eternal home, Jesus’ body does not limit Him to one place. He is everywhere, intimately communing with everyone.
In my wondering about heaven, I had made the mistake of imagining Jesus’ position through the filter of my own finite makeup. When I am looking at a vast crowd, all I see is a mass of bodies gathered in one place. The faces look like distant, nondescript dots to me. When He looks at that very same crowd, He sees absolutely everyone in it. He watches every face and takes in every facial expression. The incalculable decibels of crowd noise do not drown out the faintest sigh from His ears. He knows the personal story of every single individual there. He keenly perceives what is on each mind and profoundly feels what is on each heart. He loves every last person present with an indescribably passionate love. Not even one lonely soul is lost in the crowd.
Yes, it is true. We are still on the earth, eagerly awaiting our homecoming there. But meanwhile, don’t let that hold you back from drinking in Jesus’ focused, devoted attention! The Bethel song says it perfectly, “In a crowd of ten thousand, You don’t miss a thing…”* He is looking at you right now, in real time. He Himself has watched, with fixated concentration, every second of every minute of every hour that you have ever lived. He will continue to perpetually, deeply see you for the rest of your life on earth… and He will intimately gaze on you, unceasingly, forever.
You will always have all of His attention.
*“You Don’t Miss a Thing” by Bethel Music
What are your thoughts on heaven, and God’s intimate attention? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!