There IS a difference
I stopped for a minute so I could take it all in. I wanted to hear their voices…see the look on their faces. My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude at the goodness of God. I love how He made Himself real to each of them. How He spoke to their hearts and called them close.
I was so glad I had gone there months ago. So glad I took some of them with me. So glad they brought each other back. When I first met the guy leading worship I knew right away he was a worshiper. I mean, we are all worshipers in some way. But I knew He had spent time worshiping in the presence of God. I knew the guitar he held would not be used for his glory but for God’s.
That’s why I went there in the first place. My spirit needed to be saturated with God’s presence. It was, that first night I went, and every time I have gone back since. It drips off of the walls there. Fills the room like a weighted blanket, bringing peace and comfort and calm. There are moments of shouting with praise and moments of quiet…waiting for the voice of God to speak in individual hearts. And speak He does.
They met God there. They’ve known who He is, but they saw Him there last night. They honestly, truly, encountered Him in a way they had not before. These young people love Jesus. They have a deep desire to do what is right. It is these moments of awesome encounter with God that will solidify in them the drive to take Him to the world. And it’s everything I’ve wanted for this group of kids.
I love that this experience didn’t come packaged like they may have expected. It wasn’t in a huge auditorium with thousands of people crowding in. God doesn’t calculate like us. He simply responds to the praises of His people. In fact, the Bible says he ‘inhabits’ them. He’s there, perhaps our worship acts like a telescope to bring Him closer into view. And the view was quite clear last night. In this little tiny metal building on the side if a busy road…with 20 young people and a couple of old folks like me. I’m sure their hearts were not expecting the flooding they experienced.
As my eyes scanned their faces I saw myself. I was 19 when I first came face to face with Him. I was just a kid when He first wrecked my world. He crashed in like a wave and soaked through everything that was wrong to make it all right. That moment with Him…and every one I’ve experienced since…are the tent pins of my faith. I know for certain He is real because I’ve encountered Him…just like Paul, just like Moses, just like Mary.
Now I find Him more in His Word. That’s where I learn to live and to be. But His presence in worship is still precious to me. Sometimes my spirit cries out for more of it. I know the words you are reading may be messing with your theology. You may never have experienced God this way. I’m sorry. I want you to. This debate has gone on for years, and will no doubt continue for years to come. But if you can, if your heart is longing, seek His presence in worship today. Not the ‘He is with us always’ presence…I mean the ‘ can’t breathe, hair standing up on your arms, I know He’s in this room’ kind of presence. There IS a difference. It’s NOT just emotion.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”Psalm 27:8
Your face, Lord, I will seek.