Before this day is done, let’s have one more honest conversation about worship. We could have many, but let’s have just one more. Earlier today, I brought up the topic of emotional worship. Every believer’s emotions should be engaged in increasing degree as we learn to worship God. Why? Because Jesus was an emotional worshiper (Hebrews 5:7), and if we’re becoming more like him from one degree of glory to the next, then our worship will look more like his with increasing passion.
However reality is a bit of a drag sometimes. On any given Sunday, you can have any one or more of countless reasons for being emotionally disengaged. Withdrawn. Aloof. Annoyed. Distracted. It happens to all of us. It happens to me, and I’m the guy who is supposed to lead you in worship. Maybe you fought with your spouse or kids or both on the way to the gathering. Maybe you lost your job the day before. Maybe you woke up to a shattered world because you lost a loved one in the days before. Or maybe you’re just in auto-pilot. You’re not happy or sad or angry, you’re just doing what’s normal for you to do . . . mindlessly.
Got a ticket.
Got your taxes done. You owe money.
Got a hangover.
You get the point.
So you show up, emotionally absent at best or in an unhelpful emotional state at worst. The worship time begins, and every song that you hate is sang loudly. You fake it through the music, hoping the sermon will tell you something helpful. But it falls flat. There wasn’t a single thing in that sermon that helped you feel better or gave you some direction on what to do with your problems. You go home and think to yourself, “Where was God today?”
Before I give you that answer that you probably know is coming, think about this. Why were you waiting to show up somewhere so that you could meet with God? I understand the importance of the church gathering. I’m not downing it. But really believer, in that moment when you were speeding, God was with you. In that moment when you walked into a robbed, violated home, God was with you. When you were fighting over being late on the way to church, God was with you. When you lost your job, God was with you. When you were getting drunk, God was with you.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. ~ Psalm 139:7-12
Stop asking where God was, and start remembering where you are! Don’t rush to blame the pastor or blame the musicians or blame your circumstance for a lackluster day with the church. Don’t rush to blame others. Start with, “Where am I?” You see, God is here. He’s always with us. He’s always among our worship gatherings. And despite the imperfections of the people who lead us, God is faithful. He shows up. He is here. The question is, where are you? Instead of wondering where he is, figure out where you are in relation to God, and respond by running to where he is.