Admin note: I apologize for the site being down so long this week! That made me sad! Greg and I are looking into some new resources and management so that hopefully this does not happen again. Thanks for your patience. – April
Yesterday morning started off in a bit of a rush. I lost track of time. Sunday is the one day I don’t keep my phone beside me because I generally have plenty of time. Well, I got absorbed in something and ended up having to rush to get to church in time, because I needed to be there a bit early in order to help some folks with a task.
I wasn’t in a bad mood, but I wasn’t in a great mood. I was just present. I wasn’t grumpy or anything. I was cordial to everyone, but I wasn’t super talkative.
I visited with a few people and then I settled in to my chair in the sanctuary. There was plenty of time before the service began. I sat and watched everyone coming in, smiling and offering greetings. I have not been in the corporate worship service in a couple of years. I have been over kid’s church, but recently felt God was moving me. I was in service last week, but didn’t have much time to sit and watch.
Out of nowhere, it seems, I was hit with a twinge of sadness. I felt very alone and I felt like my singleness was amplified. A familiar feeling washed over me. I remembered how it felt to sit in church alone. It is one of the hardest things to face alone. Does anyone else feel that way?
Service started about this time and in the opening prayer, I asked God to replace my sadness and to allow my mind to focus on Him alone. The worship leader started the first song. I closed my eyes and lifted my hands in worship. When I tell you that I felt the presence of God, I am not doing it justice. I knew that I was in the presence of Jehovah!
Nothing else mattered in the moment.
NOTHING- not a job, not a bill, not what makeup I had on my face, not what man was standing beside me, nothing! The President could have stepped beside me and I wouldn’t have known. All that mattered was praising God and soaking up His presence. It overwhelmed so much that I started weeping. I did not make a scene or anything like that. It is hard to put in to words; I was just flooded with His love, the cost of my sin, and my gratefulness to Him. I was sobbing so much that I could no longer sing the songs, but it was one of the most intimate moments of my life.
I felt the Holy Spirit impress on my heart that God was more than enough to satisfy. That I could not even begin to comprehend the depths of His love for me and that I had just experienced a small taste. All I wanted was to praise my savior. Nothing mattered because I was in the presence of Jehovah!
This started me thinking about how important praise is. We talk about the power of prayer, and boy is it powerful. We talk about the power of testimony, and God definitely uses them for His good. Do we fully realize how powerful praise really is? Paul and Silas were praying and sang praises unto God while in prison and there was an earthquake and the shackles were undone. (Acts 16:25-26) I don’t want to take too much liberty with a metaphor here, but it made me start thinking.
Could we see bondage and sinful thought patterns broken if prayed and sang praises no matter our circumstances?
We’ve most likely heard sermons about praise, but do we make it personal? Do we understand that praise has little to do with our circumstances, and everything to do with our obedience? Shouldn’t our salvation alone be more than enough to warrant sincere praise offered to God? When did we start to believe the lie that we are doing God a favor by praising Him, even in the middle of a storm? We are never doing God a favor praising Him. We are acting in obedience. It is a benefit of our salvation to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is an undeserved privilege to get to enter into His presence. In Psalm 22 it is written that God inhabits the praises of His people. What if we acted as if we truly believe the scripture?
Being in His presence is not something easily forgotten. You don’t enter on an emotional high and forget the experience a few hours later. It lingers. You crave his presence. You live with the power of His presence. You begin to realize you would give up everything for your moment with the King!