The boat ventured deeper into the waterfall, and I wondered, "Is this what it is like to be overwhelmed by the presence of God?"
One of my students, Gabriel, told me, "You have to take the boat trip at Iguazu! It's the best thing I ever did." We took him at his word, and we signed up as soon as we walked into the park. At 1.45, we gathered with our group for our excursion. We took a long ride through the rainforest as one of the guides gave us a lesson in plants, history, horticulture, and conservation. We arrived at a dock on the river and readied ourselves for the upcoming experience.
The guide told us there were two parts to the excursion. First, the boat would sit outside of both sets of waterfalls to allow us to take pictures. Next, the boats would enter the waterfalls, and we might get "a little wet." (That was the biggest understatement of the year!) As we approached the falls, we were overwhelmed by the sound of the roaring water and the "fog" rolling off of the falls. There was a different perspective from being on top just a few hours before to being underneath the falls now. One was a little more detached: we were awed by the beauty, but we stood at a distance. Now we were truly experiencing the rush, the awesome majesty, and the overpowering wonder of it all. As we entered into the waterfall, we were drenched with water. Megan and I were both wearing our raincoats, yet it made no difference... Regardless of our preparation, we were caught up in the deluge. The falls poured down on top of us, sweeping over the boat and the people within, catching us in their grip before continuing down the river. As we withdrew from the falls, a seeming eternity later (but more realistically only three or so minutes), we couldn't stop smiling and gushing about the experience we had just undertaken.
I wonder if heaven will be kind of like that: caught up in the overwhelming rush of the glory of God. When we stand at a distance from God, we can still be overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of it all, but we haven't truly experienced God until we get into the midst of him. When we are drenched by his goodness, inundated by his love, swept away by his mercy. When we stand in the midst of God, I think an eternity will only feel like three or four minutes, and we won't be able to stop smiling or gushing about what we are experiencing.
How amazing will it be to stand (or more likely kneel) in the presence
of God, overwhelmed by his presence? May we long for that day!