good to be here

nienke-van-tellingen-187818

After a stressful or busy season of life, when finally enjoying that long-awaited vacation, you might let out a deep sigh and breathe out the words while you kick back and relax.

After being apart from dear friends, when you at last are back in one another’s company, you might say it once you have shared a long hug.

“It’s good to be here!” We’ve waited for this moment, anticipated it, felt that we needed it. Finally we are here, and we feel sure that it is a good place for us to be.

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Reading the gospels provides a unique balance of perspective. We see the disciples in all of their humanness as they observe, learn, and oftentimes fail at grasping what is happening through the God-Man. We also have a broad picture of the full story, meaning we are afforded a good understanding of many things that seemed to make no sense to the disciples. It is easy to think they missed the obvious, but the tension remains that we have so much perspective that they were unable to grasp in the moment.

When Jesus took Peter, James, and John onto the Mount of Transfiguration, they certainly could not have been prepared for what happened next. I imagine they must have stood speechless for some time before Peter apparently verbalized the only words that came to his mind: “Rabbi, it is good that we are here.”

I wonder what he thought when the words came out of his mouth. Did they feel dumb and insignificant, or perhaps he was so overcome with the moment he barely could remember what he had just said. Even when we are terrified and nearly speechless, it is easy to be glad we are experiencing an incredible moment. Peter must have felt that appreciation, even in his terror. Perhaps he felt a need to participate in the moment and make himself more a part of it by offering his perspective.

When the transfiguration had reached a conclusion, the disciples were alone with only Jesus. That glorious moment had reached an end, but the glory was not over. Jesus was the only One they needed, and the One they needed to listen to, and they were with Him. It may not have felt so terrifying and incredible, but what glory to be with only Jesus! 

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I wonder, also, how often Peter had that same “It is good to be here” attitude at other moments during Jesus’ ministry. Did he feel the same way out in the wilderness, wearied from the labor of the ministry? Did he feel that way when the crowds would not leave them alone, and yet another person was crying out for help? How did he feel when the experience was not shining and glory but heaviness and an impending cross?

We might look at the disciples and shake our heads at their oblivion to the perfect plan of God unfolding, but I fear I am prone to do the same thing. I want to be in places that feel good or significant or wonderful. The hard and heavy spots look like places to avoid.  There are short, powerful words that define what is good for us: Jesus only. It matters little–matters nothing–where we are when we are alone with Jesus in that place.

In the counter-intuitive way that God’s plan works, it is often in the hardest places where we find ourselves most alone with Jesus. In the prayers He carries with us and the desperation of our trials, we are in uniquely perfect spots to understand the nearness and completeness of our Savior. No matter if we are in the mountain or the valley, we can be sure that all things are working together for our good. We have freedom to say with certainty It is good to be here–not because of our outward circumstances, but because of our Savior! 

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