“The sinners in Zion are terrified;
trembling grips the godless:
“Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?”
Isaiah 33:14, NIV
There is a strange lack in the Church, and quite frankly, it is disturbing. Our churches have operated on nothing for so long, what we think is normal isn’t even close. We really should compare ourselves to the young Church in the early chapters of the Book of Acts. Each believer had his own personal “flame” resting and abiding on them.
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”
Our churches should be places where we directly encounter the Lord God. I would like to suggest that our elders, and our ushers, start handing out life-preservers, and flares. (Rafts, of course, should be readily available.) For who can know what will happen when we make “first contact” with the Living God. All provision for survival should be made. Ambulances should become routine when the Church meets. Agape love can completely undo us. It seems meeting with God is a bit like dwelling in a nuclear reactor, of love and of mercy and grace.
When God’s presence rips into us full blast, we will have to decide whether to take Him in His tumultuous power, or walk away unscathed. Do we fully understand the power that we so blithely invoke? We often tolerate something less, to see that our life isn’t turned upside down. Perhaps we reason, or think, that this is the most terrible thing that could happen to us. But His special grace just can’t be filtered out, or eliminated, without changing the gospel.
We are bread in His toaster. He sears us with divine grace. (He then slathers us with ‘butter.’) Something akin to a deep agape love singes on us, and perhaps we might easily ignite. But perhaps that is what it is all about anyway, isn’t it?