Sunday, January 11, 2015

Surround Me Not, Oh Lord!

During our church service today, we sang a song entitled "Surround Me, Oh Lord:"
"Surround me, oh Lord.
Surround me, oh Lord.
Surround me, oh Lord.
Let Your presence fill this place."
Perhaps it's not the most doctrinally enriching of songs in history, but I give it credit.  As I stood with the rest of the Praise and Worship team singing, a thought hit me and resonated throughout the rest of the service: Do we really want God's presence?

Sure, we love the idea of the Lord's presence surrounding us.  We want to feel empowered, uplifted, and filled with joy and zeal.  And indeed it is right that we should desire these things!  But if this is what we expect from an encounter with God, many of us will be woefully disappointed.

Think of Jesus in the temple (John 2:13-22).  I'm sure that, when the religious leaders looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, they expected a similar feeling to ours.  But what did they find instead?  The Christ drove out the merchants and animals, poured out the coins, and flipped the tables in righteous anger.

Are we ready for this same Jesus to surround us with such holiness and power?

The truth is, this Jesus wants and is ready to surround us with His presence.  But, because of our desire to dwell in our mediocre comfort-zones, we actually push Him away at the moment He tells us something we don't want to hear!

Don't get me wrong, our Father will fill us with joy and zeal; He will empower us and uplift us.  But He will also change us.  Any experience of God will undoubtedly result in a change.  Worship is the realization of who God is - in all His might and majesty - and therefore, it is a realization of how small and unworthy we are.

If we are truly surrounded by the presence of God, we will seldom be comfortable.  He will tell us things we may not want to hear.  We will be convicted and pushed out of our comfort-zones.

Do you really want to experience such a God?

I do.