Do we really want God to show up? Our automatic answer would be yes… but is that true? When God moves with power, people generally become afraid. When God met the Isrealites at Mt. Sinai, the mountain shook and the people were terrified. When Jesus cast the demons out of the men in Gergesenes, the townspeople asked Him to leave. In her book, Desperate for His Presence, Rhonda Hughey describes a night when she was present in a service where God showed up, and she became afraid. She says, “His presence was almost suffocating in its power and strength. I had mixed feelings – should I run away from it or toward it?” While we were in prayer this week for the church and asking God for His presence and power to move in our church, my husband felt God tell him that the church was not ready to experience His power. We would run away. Why?
When Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples “marveled saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”” (Matt 8:27). Until the disciples got to know Jesus and His love for them, they were afraid of the manifestation of His power. Once they travelled with Him for three years, witnessed Him die for them and rise from the dead, they finally understood. Then they were ready for the presence of God to fall on them and for His power to flow through them. They were no longer afraid – they were bold. Is our fearfulness related to the fact that we really do not know Him? Do we understand God’s intentions? Do we know His love? Are we confident in our ability to stand before Him and not be consumed?
A year ago my family was being terrorized. We begged God to intervene. And He did – powerfully. My first reaction was great relief for our trial to be over. That was followed by a sobering thought, who am I that I should live? I became afraid. I had to remember who God is and how much He loves me. He reminded me of the verses in Lamentations (3:22-23): “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” As a church, do we know God? Are we confident in our position before Him? What do we need to do to become ready to experience His power? Will God pass us by when He is ready to move because we are not prepared? Are we content to simply know God as a nice thought? Or are we ready to seek Him out and ask that His glory fill our church? God wants to come – which way will we run?