Weak Man, Strong God: Lord’s Day Worship
Published September 1, 2023
“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
Lord’s Day Worship: Remembering and Celebrating Christ
The Lord has called a people to Himself to worship Him in spirit and in truth. In John 4, Jesus said that the Father is seeking true worshippers to worship Him. As part of God’s glorious work of salvation, God regenerates the heart of a rebellious sinner and makes that rebel into a new creature. As a result, a sinner that is brought from spiritual death to spiritual life now has new desires, new affections, and new treasures. That new reality permeates every aspect of a Christian’s life. Regardless of our circumstances, a believer has been called out of darkness and into His glorious light to proclaim the excellencies of Him who is worthy of all worship.
Not only that, but the Lord has brought every believer into His spiritual family, and we are now members of the body of Christ. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all God’s people come together on the Lord’s Day to worship, celebrate, rejoice, and remember corporately that Jesus Christ has delivered us from the bondage of sin and has conquered death. These Gospel truths are full of hope and power. Proverbs 13:12a says that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”
While in the hospital with Liberty, it was the hope and power of the Gospel that strengthened Katie and me to endure. More specifically, it was corporate worship on the Lord’s Day with our church family that was the spiritual balm that our souls most longed for each week.
Lord’s Day Worship: Nourishment for the Soul
Liberty went into the hospital the week of Thanksgiving. Katie and I missed church the Sunday before Thanksgiving because we didn’t want to expose our church family to a potentially contagious sickness on such a busy holiday week. Then we missed the following week of church because of Liberty’s growing medical needs. At this point, our souls were already feeling the weight and burden of being in the hospital with a very sick child. As the deer pants for the water brook, so our souls were panting for the spiritual refreshment of worship and fellowship with our local flock.
In God’s kind providence, we were at Banner Thunderbird Hospital with Liberty. The proximity to church gave us the ability to attend weekly service. Katie and I decided that regardless of how stressful and frantic things may be, we were going to prioritize in-person attendance at church as the Lord willed. To make that happen, I would go to the 8:30 AM service. Then as Pastor Robb finished the sermon and moved to prayer, I would hustle to Banner Hospital to switch with Katie so that she could attend the 10:30 service. There were so many moving parts to make it work, but the Lord graciously blessed our efforts so that we could participate each week. It is difficult to quantify the difference that it made on our attitudes and our overall perspective. Looking back, I can see that it was the MOST-IMPORTANT means of grace that the Lord used to satisfy and sustain us as we drank deeply from His fountain of living water.
Lord’s Day Worship: Means of Grace
One of the biggest difficulties that I personally experienced during our extended time in the hospital was being consumed with the constant challenges and needs that filled each day as well as the temptation to feel so alone in what we were going through. Life in the hospital during the holidays is exceptionally isolating while also being painfully apparent that life continues to march forward with or without you, regardless of what you may be going through. It became especially challenging for me to not become self-focused, envious, or feel sorry for myself as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death with no clear view of escape.
Lord’s Day worship was the weekly means of grace that strengthened our souls to persevere and endure day by day, week by week. We experienced the love and fellowship of our church family as our brothers and sisters in Christ fervently prayed and wept with us. Our biggest need was to hear the truth and get beyond the crippling despair of our present circumstances. Each Lord’s Day brought great hope and encouragement to us. The truth about God’s character strengthened and emboldened our hearts. We needed to be reminded over and over and over again and actively direct our faith and hope in God.
Corporate worship was the balm that God used to solidify what our hope and peace is. Jesus is the good shepherd. He made us lie down in green pastures and led us by streams of water. He restored our soul. Our greatest need WAS NOT the healing of our daughter but to dwell in the Lord’s presence with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord so that our hope would be firmly rooted in the loving care and provision of our Heavenly Father. We needed to be reminded of our shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness, and helmet of salvation. We needed to wield the Sword of the Spirit against the flaming darts of the evil one as well as the nagging doubts and accusations of our own hearts.
God’s provision was experienced most fully as we were immersed in the body of Christ: seeing, hearing, and tasting the blessed assurance that we have in Christ. Most importantly, we needed to get beyond ourselves and center our focus on worship of God. He is the sure and steady anchor of our souls. As our spirits were refreshed through the gathering of the saints, we were graciously given the strength and the energy to endure for another day, another week, another month, as the Lord willed. All for His glory.