“Is God at my church?” That was my first thought as I pulled into the parking lot a few days ago and saw a limousine in front of the building. My second thought was, “If God is in the limo, then who’s driving? Maybe, Jesus? Or, Moses?”
Curiosity got the best of me. The doors were unlocked, so I decided to peek in. It was plush! Comfortable seats, widescreen TV, fancy lights, mini-bar, and much more. I thought to myself, “This is a sweet ride!”. One problem though, it was empty; no driver; no passenger.
It’s ironic: A lot of our churches today are like the limo. They have comfy seats, big screens, cool lights, and refreshment bars, yet the driver is missing. And for all practical purposes the passengers have abandoned the ride, too. Why is that?
“Is God at my church?” It’s a profound question that leads to an even deeper one, “Is God with me?”. According to Scripture, God is everywhere. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the Heavens You are there. If I make my bed in the depths You are there.” -Psalm 139:7-8. If God is present, then shouldn’t it be evident by His movement in His church? Shouldn’t He be evident in our lives? Why are so many churches in decline? Better yet, why are so many people’s lives such a wreck? Is it possible that God has abandoned us? I think not.
If we truly believe that God is everywhere, then it’s impossible for Him to leave. But maybe, instead of Him leaving us, we are leaving Him. For instance: two people can be married, live in the same house, and still be void of any type of relationship because one or both are disengaged. To quote an old cliché, “Like two ships passing in the night.” Both are present, but don’t acknowledge each other. Therefore, it’s as if the relationship is non-existent.
Just like in our earthly relationships, the loss of connection usually begins with one small act of selfishness. We begin to ignore the desires of the other person, in this case God. Whether this is done individually, or as a church, the result is the same: we replace God’s desires with our own desires. Over time, a wall goes up and then we blame God for checking out on us, all the while wondering why He’s not blessing our lives. The reality is, God doesn’t check out on us, we check out on Him. We build the wall, one brick at a time.
I really like that song by George Strait, “I Saw God Today.”
I’ve been to church, I’ve read the book, I know He’s there,
But I don’t look near as often as I should,
His fingerprints are everywhere, I just look down and stop and stare,
Open my eyes and then I swear, I Saw God Today
The truth is, God does not leave us, we leave him. “For the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6 But, like the song says, we can go to church, read the book, know He’s there, but not look, and we miss Him completely. Just like in a dysfunctional marriage, we can live with Him but never know Him in an intimate way.
Are you like the limo: empty with no driver? Have you been asking the question, “Is God still with me?” Let me assure you, He is! He promises that He’ll never leave you. Maybe, all you need to do is acknowledge His presence. Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” And speaking from personal experience, not only will He direct your paths, but He’ll take you on the sweetest ride of your life!