Magic at church? God does not have anything to do with magic, right? Church has nothing to do with magic either, right? If you had followed me around in years past, you might have thought otherwise. Maybe you have fallen prey to the same mistake I did.
I must have worn the soles of my shoes down and burned a zillion calories running back and forth between my seat in church and the altar where I was convinced, if not hopeful, I would receive yet another magic fix. What am I talking about? Maybe you know. Surely I was not alone.
I had turned the altar in just about every church I attended into a dumping ground where I could trade my troubles in for magic. I figured if just the right pastor, with just the right prayer, or just the right sister or brother in Christ, with just the right words, and just the right praying hands, would pray over me, I would be fixed.
I cannot deny it. I got relief. Lots of it, in fact. For seconds. Sometimes minutes. Once in a while hours. And, once in a rare while, for days. Then I was right back at it again. Running to the altar for magic. For my instant fix.
I would be remiss to leave out what I did in between Sundays. My heart was so hardened I could not see. I walked around with bitterness, anger, self pity, fear, doubt, unbelief, anger, worry, envy, judgment, condemnation, and occasional confession with no real desire or commitment to learn to walk free from what was clogging my heart.
That, my friends, was only the surface. Underneath it all, I had no real, intimate, personal, relationship with the Lord. I had a relationship with friends, with strangers, with loved ones, with books, with the Bible, with churches and pastors. I did not have a healthy relationship with most, but what I had was a relationship with everything and everyone I felt could fix me – minus a deep, loving relationship with the one who matters above all. The Lord.
It would be unfair for me to speak against churches, pastors, prayers, and altars dedicated to God. It would be wrong, in fact. They all have their place, but they are not God.
Looking back, I was looking for magic. And, what I got, was a distraction from what is the greatest gift of all. The Lord.
The Lord set me straight. He took me out of church for a long season. I hated every minute of it. But He knew what I needed. When everything around me I had depended on was all of a sudden gone, many relationships included, I could do nothing but cry out to the Lord – and find out who He really is, who I am in Him, and what He desires for my life.
When He led me back to church, He did not choose any one church for me. He did not want me to re-form an old dependency. He wanted my heart and eyes on Him, first and foremost.
I wonder how many of us run to our churches and altars looking for the magic fix.
It was not until I found my own, unique, special, beautiful, amazing, intimate relationship with the Lord, and not until with that relationship I learned how to take responsibility for my life and actions in between Sundays that I discovered I was on the right track.
There is no magic in God. What there is – is His everlasting love.
I have found more freedom in learning to love and be loved by Him, and in learning how to repent from my sin and live the way He desires, than I ever found in my moments of relief running to church altars.
I would not trade anything in the world for the Lord, and I can think of no greater gift than to love Him, to be loved by Him, to love people and animals through Him, and to serve Him with all of my heart and life.
No more magic for me.
I’m going for the very best in the universe.