A few weeks ago my kids had a “Week of Prayer” at their school. They had a guest speaker come in and do worship everyday as the school had a heightened spiritual emphasis. At the end of the week I asked my 5 year old what the pastor talked about and what he learned. He thought for a long time, looked at me and said “I don’t know. Was it about Jesus?”
Now, that’s a cute story and makes us laugh, but how many times as adult Christians do we do the same thing? We do our devotions, go to church, don’t drink or smoke and if someone were to ask us why we do those things we respond with “Because of Jesus?”. We far too often come together to worship God without really asking why we worship God in the first place. Who is this thing, this being, that we call creator, Savior, God and devote our lives trying to make ourselves worthy of?
So, let’s start simply. Why are you here? And not here as in the inevitable meaning of life, but why are you here in this moment for this time right now?
It’s a tough question that deserves answering, because at the heart of it is what drives you to continue to do what you do. Why am I at this church, this school, this employer? Why do I worship this God, in this manner? And the complicated thing is that God is so infinitely complicated it’s seemingly infinitely complicated to explain why we believe in Him. It’s a feeling. It’s like describing the dark.
When I was a teenager my family took a trip to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. As you descend into the cave you see the beauty and enormity of the vast hole in the ground. On one of the tours when you get to the bottom and enter the cave they take start you off in a smaller side cave. The tour guide describes how important it is to stay together, and some general safety precautions. As he finishes he talks about the darkness in a cave, and turns off the lights. You can’t really describe how dark it is. But you feel it.
Darkness does not exist. Darkness is simply the absence of light. And as the guide lights a single match that illuminates the cavern you understand that. So for many the answer to “Why” can only be explained by the absence. I worship God because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. It is significant that studies of the world’s cultures show an almost universal belief in a god or gods. This is not surprising to people who believe the Bible. The writer of Ecclesiastes referred to God as having “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecc. 3:11). This inner longing was described by Blaise Pascal, the great 17th-century mathematician, as “the God-shaped vacuum” in every human being.
David in the Psalms Chapter 19: 1-4 says “The heaves tell of the glory of God, the skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known; their voice is silent in the sky; yet their message has gone out to all the earth and their words to all the world.” God exists and is revealed without words.
Many Christians feel they can fill that God shaped hole by a God in a box. A God laid out by fundamental beliefs or doctrines. But rabbi’s in the early 1st century didn’t believe God could be described. They even went so far as to not say his name. God was and is personal. Indescribable. Unexplainable, like the love you have for a grandparent or the taste of a perfect piece of cheesecake.
So here’s an exercise for you. Take out a picture of a loved one and tell me why you love that person. What makes them so amazing to be with that your heart skips a beat and just the thought of them makes you smile. Now do the same with God. Can you? Once you’ve done that, then you can start answering the “why” question.