“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1).
I often catch myself just coasting through a worship experience or through my time alone with God in His Word. How could I approach the great God of the universe with such a lackadaisical attitude? Why am I not filled with the same wonder that gripped the prophet Isaiah when he had the awesome vision of God?
In his book Letters to My Children, Daniel Taylor tells of attempting to respond to some rather provoking questions from his young children. His son Matthew asked, “Church is getting boring. Why do we have to go to church?” Parents often have to answer that question … parents often ask that question.
Daniel Taylor’s reply to his son’s question is insightful:
“Think about it. If a friend of yours called and said that a famous athlete or singer was going to be at his house, and asked if you wanted to come over, wouldn’t you go? And wouldn’t you be excited? Of course! And so would I.
“Well, church is the place where God will be, every time you go. Of course he is with you whether you’re in church or not, but he can be there in a special way when many believers gather to celebrate him together.
“’Sounds great,’ I hear you saying, ‘but then how come you fell asleep so much? If God is really there, I mean really there, then how come we aren’t bug-eyed and breathless most all the time?’
“That’s a very good question. I wish I had a very good answer. Part of it is that God knows we can’t take very much of him. It’s like when you hold Fluffs, our hamster. If you squeezed very hard, Fluffs would be on his way to hamster heaven. You have to hold him gently, talk to him quietly. Well, God has to be sort of like that with us.
“Truthfully, though, the biggest reason might be that we don’t want very much of God. We want God to stay in his cage like Fluffs does. We are afraid of losing control of our own lives. We just want him to help us a little here, and forgive us a little there, and let us handle the rest. And so we try to make church a safe place where we can get a little bit of God but not too much.
“We don’t like surprises, not even from God, so we make our churches places where surprises aren’t likely to happen. We ask God to come, but only if he will be polite. And therefore, little kids and adult kids often fall asleep—even if they keep their eyes open.
“And yet, at the very same time, church is a wonderful place. God has chosen it, ‘sorry-ness’ and all, to be the place where he will meet his people, the place from which he will send his people to all parts of the world to preach the good news about him.”
It helps me to remember that, whether I realize it or not, when I gather with God’s people on the Lord’s Day for worship I am coming into the presence of a holy God. That should shake me to my core. And every time I open my Bible to read, whether I realize it or not, I am having an encounter with a holy God. I should be filled with awe and wonder.