Is God Here Tonight?

The sturdy little three-year-old shuffled along down the church aisle in front of his parents and was gently guided by the shoulders into a seat. He sat down, taking a good while to adjust himself. He shifted this way and that, looking everything over. When the ministers walked onto the platform they received his careful scrutiny. While everyone was bowed in silent prayer a small voice was heard to say:

“Mommie… is God here tonight?”

Mother replied, “Yes, of course, dear.” And the little fellow settled back – satisfied.

How aware he was of the fact that God should be there. Looking about, his mother began to wonder if those in the congregation, and indeed, those on the platform, were as aware of the fact.

First Lutheran Church, Jamestown, N.Y., interior, 1950s. ELCA Archives image. http://www.elca.org/archives

First Lutheran Church, Jamestown, N.Y., interior, 1950s.
ELCA Archives image.
http://www.elca.org/archives

There’s something child-like about the person who enters God’s house expecting to meet the Lord there. The person with this child-like faith is particularly blessed, for his faith brings God nigh and he does meet Him. No wonder Jesus said, “Except ye…become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

This is an age of skepticism…the “show me, and I will believe” cult is everywhere and has even crept into the church. If we really believed the scripture that says: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” how different would be our attitude in God’s house. Our minds would be upon Him in adoration and worship – for He has promised to be present. We would anticipate His presence and blessing.

I have seen the humble soul enter God’s house and come away refreshed and enriched while others asked, “was God there today? I didn’t feel His presence.” I think the secret lies in that word, “anticipation.” The Bible, in referring to Christ’s second coming says, “Unto those who look for him shall he appear,” and I am prone to think this is true also while He tarries.

If going to church has become a dull thing for you – try this simple formula.

This article, “Is God Here Tonight?” by Rev. Gladys I. Johnson first appeared in Foursquare Magazine in 1958. The inside scoop is that our brother Ronnie was the little boy in this story. (Tami & Karen)

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