Seeking God

January 6, 2021
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We're Marching To Zion"1 (Lyrics)

As I write, we are in the midst of the raging, worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, which has set our lifestyle patterns on their heads and forced us to adapt in a variety of ways. At 77 years of age, I'm in the vulnerable population for getting this nasty virus, so I must take great care when venturing forth. Instead of going to the grocery store, I have door-to-door delivery for shelf-stable items, but to acquire fresh fruits and vegetables, I must go out to a store wearing a multi-layered mask. The church that I usually attended has padlocked its doors and urges us to join its live-streamed broadcast over YouTube.

Amos 8:11-12 – The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it. (NRSV)

Today, I feel as if our country is where Israel was back in Amos's day. Because God's people had forgotten their God and had gone searching for titillating god and goddess worship, the one true God was about to withdraw from them, and they would suffer the consequences of their choices. By the time they realized their mistake and went searching for worship of the One True God, it would be too late to find what they were looking for.

Likewise, I'd do nearly anything legal and moral to be able to attend corporate worship again, but attend I shan't be able to do. Even when services resume in the sanctuary, we vulnerables must stay home!

In the past, the sick, the halt, maimed, and lame have always been welcomed into the sanctuary where inner healing, if not physical healing, might be found. I'm finding this really hard to bear. God has always been my strength and shield, my very present help in times of trouble. Therefore, not to be able to seek Him in person in the church sanctuary became the most troubling part of the recent pandemic.

How I've missed corporate worship — the singing, the prayers, the praising, all accompanied by the bonus of a really good sermon! For many, the sermon is the highlight, but for me, it's the prayers and praise that lift my soul into the heavenlies. How my soul longs and thirsts for the Lord's presence within the context of corporate worship!

So, what can we do about it? It is important to deliberately choose to give thanks for what we do have, rather than to complain about what we don't have. Paul urges us to give thanks in every circumstance. Let's ask ourselves, what new thing is the Lord doing and going to do in our lives as a result of this deprivation of in-person worship? Suffering produces character, so what character is God developing in us?

Prayer: Lord God, we long and thirst for Your presence as for water in a dry land. Be with us and fill us again with Your loving presence. Hasten the day when we will be able once again to worship You in the sanctuary. Amen.

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About the author:

Cassandra Wessel <casswessel@ymail.com>
Tionesta, Pennsylvania, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you, Cassandra, for sharing your life with us.


    So true! Thanks for sharing it so well. I feel exactly the same. Blessings and stay safe,


    I feel your pain.
    May God strengthen you in these hard times.
    Yes, we must keep giving Him thanks for everything.
    Blessings for sharing.


    Thank you for sharing. Let us, while we have internet AND electricity, be also faithful corporately worshipping online and sharing the Gospel of Jesus’ salvation Truth worldwide.
    God used “Covid” for me to meet you Cassandra. Keep writing and praying for the lost, many in my own family.


    I feel as you do that not being able to worship with others in a church setting is difficult but on the other hand the Lord is using online worship to reach out to many more people. I send the service from my church to folk in New Zealand and to N. Ireland as well as across Canada.
    The Lord works in mysterious ways!
    God bless.


    Dear Cassandra,
    My feelings are much like yours. I so miss gathering together in person with church family. I am thankful that we do have the service online but enjoy it so much more being in the sanctuary. However, we must be grateful that our Lord is with us no matter where we are, and His plans are always for the best outcome.
    Many thanks for your thoughtful writing.
    Blessings.


    I am sympathetic with your feelings, and your meditation to look inward is always timely at the turn of the year, but I would also urge you to keep an open mind about Worship Online. Maybe your own service will not suit as you may be distracted by thoughts but look for others… there are some great sermons and creative ways of praising God!
    My husband and I are Scottish, and we have been wowed by the services that the current Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Martin Fair, is broadcasting to support the churches.
    With warmest new year wishes for 2021!
    (BC)


    Good morning Cass,
    I can relate to everything you wrote, we too miss worship in church. Our local church had opened for a while, with no singing, masks, proper distancing, people taking their coats into the pew with them etc. etc. so I was told. We, of the older generation, and I having a medical condition to be careful about, so we have not been at all. We watch a YouTube service as well, but we do miss the singing, especially my wife, she is a great singer, and also the fellowship, and I the leading in worship as I have been doing for so many years in different churches. We miss our Sunday morning drives to these churches. But things will change. God is with us who care.
    Blessings.


    Hi Cass,
    Your thoughts are the thoughts of many I do believe. Here in our small town in Texas our church is open for in-person worship; however, we are streamed via Facebook. Our congregation wears masks, distances, etc. (except some I fear!)
    My husband and I are older than you. I sing in the choir which is seated at the front of the congregation. It is interesting to watch the individuals enter the sanctuary and how each treats our current COVID situation. I cringe a bit when I see my husband entering without a mask! He sees me and puts it on his face.
    Our congregation is about 115 members and usually there are 65 to 70 at worship. I asked our pastor if we would continue live-streaming when this panic has passed. He said he thought most definitely. I am mulling that over as I think it is so easy to get in the habit of staying at home and watching on tv and as you have pointed out so well, it is not the same as corporate worship.
    One thing we know: the Lord will prevail.
    Your devotionals are always special. Thank you, Cass.
    (Texas)


    Thank you, Sandy, for your words today.
    We are opened here in NL with only the odd case that occurs with rotational worker coming home for their 4 weeks off, but they are in quarantine when they come down with it so no spread except in 2 cases and they were quickly controlled. I have chosen not to go though as they say over 60 not to be into many bubbles, but I join zoom for the service here where we are allowed to sing with masks on and then I join my church in Fl.
    I am the literalist quite often down there and then we have coffee hour on zoom. It has been an interesting time. I sometime host them in Fl. I have set up a place here at home with my candle, bible, and communion by my computer, so I feel I am there.
    I guess for some people they wouldn’t make the effort. I find with an older congregation in Fl most of the congregation are attending whereas here not so many till they opened the church a couple of months ago and now they get about 30 attending in church with masks and social distancing. I’m still afraid to risk it. I do enjoy being part of the congregation online. Here they offer zoom or YouTube and in Fl zoom and FaceTime. I prefer zoom as you feel more part of it.
    Stay well and safe,
    Blessings.
    (NL)


    The day will come soon when the sanctuary is open again.
    But God is using virtual worship to reach people who may never enter our church buildings. He is doing a new thing. Humans caused the pandemic, but God is using it too, to draw people to Himself that they may know His love.


    Dear Cassandra,
    Thank you for the timely message. I pray for you to be encouraged during this new level of distancing from the life you enjoyed, and especially corporate worship. My heart hears you where words fail me. May you have joy in your heart as we wait.

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