I Fear for You if You’re Not Growing an Insatiable Hunger to Return to Church

I don’t consider myself to be an emotionally-driven man, nor does anyone who knows me personally. My wife has quipped that I can have the emotional equivalency of a rock, where my mom has oft retorted with the Vulcan greeting when she’s heard my thoughts on a particularly emotionally charged matter. In one sense this has proved to be an incredible asset, as I can brush off nearly anything that would cause many others to be rightfully upset. I get over pains quickly. I can think through issues quickly rather than simply react out of impulse. I don’t get anxious over things. I am able to reconcile the truth of the Scriptures with my circumstances rather quickly as well.

Yet what could be said to be a strength is also perhaps my greatest weakness. I have had to learn how to sympathize with people who struggle with regulating their emotions. I can often appear aloof or cold-hearted when I approach issues that I have already worked out in my own head. It isn’t that people are even necessarily in disagreement with what I have to say, but rather, they often just need to take more time to process through something emotionally than I. That can be a real point of contention when you approach things purely on rationalistic grounds, especially when sometimes a simple hug and word of encouragement will do better than anything else.

I am also fully aware that emotions are a gift from God that ought not be squashed down simply because they can be deceptive and misleading. What this looks like on a practical level for me is that I can often approach my relationship with God as a theological enterprise rather than an experiential one. I believe the former is greater than the latter, we must know God rightly to relate to Him rightly—but I recognize God has not revealed Himself for the purpose of simply engaging the mental faculties. He has revealed Himself to us so that we might know and love Him. If my theological mind does not engage God alongside my devotional heart and soul, I am certainly not loving God with all my being, and thereby in disobedience to the Greatest Commandment.

I’m not what I’d call an emotional man in the least bit, but I believe I’ll cry when we are finally able to gather with the saints again in the household of the Lord. I miss my family in Christ a tremendous amount. I miss being able to shake hands with the men of the church and inquire how they’ve been doing. I’ve been trying to connect with some through the phone, but it just isn’t the same. I miss hearing the children sing loudly and out of tune, and hearing moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, singles and marrieds alike as well. I feel the absence of partaking in the Lord’s Supper with my brothers and sisters. Perhaps most of all, I miss sitting under the preached Word and, as my elder’s wife put it, hearing the faithful turn their pages to open up the Scriptures and follow along. Yet I also deeply regret not being able to meet with some of the men as I was on weekday mornings and our small group on Wednesday nights.

I’m not what I’d call an emotional man, but I am growing increasingly frustrated with the situation at hand. In a sense, you might call it: a foreboding incompleteness that is growing. Perhaps the pinnacle of this was on Easter Sunday. The family climbed out of bed and got dressed for my pastor’s live-streamed study. We could type in a “hello” to the members of our church, and as great as that is, it frankly sucks. For the past two years we’ve been part of a “celebration service” with a recent church plant. We gather together to celebrate our broader body in the Midwest and have the pleasure of seeing what God is doing in the people of this plant. We see old friends, make new ones, and witness wonderful testimonies of God’s grace as newly converted Christians rise and make a proclamation of their faith in Christ. We sing many, theologically-rich songs and hear the Word exposited, and then we go on our way.

Read more: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorusinthechaos/insatiable-hunger-return-church/

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