Surrounded By His Glory

As communion was being passed this morning, I listened to the song "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me. I fought to keep the tears in my eyes. I didn't want break down sobbing during that incredible song like normal. Being in a wheelchair and physically disabled, the chorus brings fantastic, breathtaking images to my mind:
"Surrounded by Your glory,

What will my heart feel? Will I dance for you Jesus,

Or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in Your presence,

Or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing 'Hallelujah,'

Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine, yeah,

I can only imagine!"

Here on this earth, the thought of being with Christ one day excites me, and I am so honored to be His servant and His friend. Sometimes while singing in church, I become so overwhelmed with awe of Christ's love for me that I feel like I could jump out of my chair if it weren't for my seatbelt. Depending on the mood of the song, my feelings range from wanting to dance around and clap my hands to wishing I could fall on my knees or even lay prostrate in reverence of Him who grants me life each day. Then I look around at my fellow worshippers, who have the ability to do these actions and I am utterly bewildered.

I am filled with wonder at how people keep the same expression, the same posture, and the same body movements (or lack thereof) during a song that talks about raising your hands and dancing as during a song that refers to falling on your knees. I understand that everyone has different preferences, different ways of worshipping, and different comfort levels. That does not explain it all, though. I see a lack of understanding, a lack of the gratitude, a lack of the excitement and joy people should have because of Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit. I see myself severely lacking each and everyday.

If someone saved me from a burning building and died because of their heroic actions, I know I would be in complete shock and eternally grateful. I would tell everyone about that person and be joyful just talking about them. Christ has done this and so much more for each one of us. Without Him and His Father, we would have absolutely nothing and no hope for the future because that's what we deserve. But we have so much more than we deserve, and we could never, ever begin to pay it all back to God. The amazing part is that He doesn't expect us to repay Him. All He wants is for us to worship Him.
The psalmist describes the power of God here:
Psalms 65:5-8
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. (NLT)

We can have a relationship with the same God described in that passage, the God who inspires shouts of joy from around the world. This defines true grace, my friends! God, the One who made everything from nothing and has power over all creation, desires a relationship with you. We have many ways to worship throughout the week, but Sunday is a day for worshipping in song. I don't know about you, but when I sing to the Lord, I will try to put my entire heart, mind and spirit into it. He desires nothing less and deserves so much more! After all, we are going to be praising and singing to God when we are in Heaven, so I want all the practice I can get now.

I'm not suggesting, nor encouraging, chaos in the sanctuary. Some churches take this idea too far, and guests are literally confused when they come in because they have no idea what is happening.

What do guests think when they walk into the worship service at your church? Do they see that the majority of the congregation is excited to be there? Or do they get the impression that you are singing just to sing? Do they see people using their abilities for the Lord? Or do they see people worried about what the person next to them will think if they raise their hands or fall to their knees? Do they see people worshipping as though they could see Christ right in front of them?

The first time I see Jesus face-to-face, I will be free to do all the things my heart desires to now when I worship. I will have the ability to stand, run, jump dance, sing beautifully, speak praises clear as day, and who knows what else! Yes, I will no longer be confined to this limited body which can only sit, lie down, and speak unclear words. As I said earlier, I wonder why others don't use their full abilities when praising God.

When I hear or try to sing "I Can Only Imagine," though, a question enters my mind, a question that puts me in so much awe that I normally sob uncontrollably. The first time I see the glorious face of my Savior, will I stand in His presence and then sing and dance for Him? Or will the sight be so unbelievably awesome that I forget about my new abilities and fall to my knees with only silence coming out of my open mouth as tears of joy flow down my cheeks? What will you do? Think about that the next time you are singing to the Lord and worship the Lord with your whole being!

About Kevin Berg
Husband, father, speaker and author, Kevin Berg, presents motivational programs to churches, schools, and corporations around the United States. Kevin's disability confines him to an electric wheelchair, and he has difficulty speaking due to the Cerebral Palsy, which has affected him his entire life. Kevin is constantly challenged by the activities most of people do without thinking. Yet, he has succeeded in things many only dream about doing, after doctors said he should be put in an institution and forgotten. After graduating from college with two degrees in five years, Kevin went on to get married and start a family while developing educational, inspirational, and motivational presentations.

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