Infant Worship (May-Jun 1998)

By Matt Dabbs

by Jeff Nelson
May – June, 1998

32Stressful day? Marriage on the rocks? Parents just don’t understand? How am I going to pay for that?

When thoughts like these overwhelm me, do you know what sounds good?

A little drink? No. Just one of those wonderful pills? No. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps? No.

Climbing up in the lap of Jesus. Sometimes that’s the only place I want to be. The lyrics of Dennis Jernigan’s song help me get there:
If I could just sit with you awhile.
If you could just hold me.
Nothing could touch me
though I’m wounded, though I die.
If I could just sit with you awhile.
I need you to hold me,
Moment by moment till forever passes by.

I have found peace many times in singing these words. But something has always been a bit awkward. When I see this in my mind I see my five foot eleven inch body sitting on the knee of a grown man, which appears a little silly. Something like a forty-one year-old sitting on Santa’s lap. I still picture it, though. Because the peace that comes from the thought far outweighs the awkwardness.

My picture has changed now. Last week in a wonderful moment of prolonged worship I had a more complete image of what I think it means to climb up in the lap of a welcoming Savior.

We have sold the Oak Hills church building to a wonderful church, City Church. We are sharing facilities for the better part of this year. We have our worship assemblies on Sunday morning, and they come in for the afternoon. I go eat lunch and come back to worship with them. I love to experience worship with City Church. It’s very different from the format of our worship, and I find it very refreshing and meaningful. They only have one service (we have three), so they’re not in a hurry to beat the clock. Before anyone gets up to speak the worship may last an hour (what a dream.)

Last Sunday they came to a point in the worship where they all just knelt and offered God whatever was in their hearts. It wasn’t planned, and it lasted a longtime. A woman began singing from her heart how much God wants his children to know he loves them. She wasn’t singing a song that anyone had ever heard before. She was singing what she believed the Lord was impressing on her heart and was being obedient to share with the other worshippers.

Sometimes it takes a pregnant moment in worship like this for us to give the Lord our undivided attention and receive the fullness of his presence. No distractions. No watches or beepers going off. No wondering about the football game that is being missed. Just God and his worshippers with no agenda in a holy place expecting a holy encounter.

The picture came to my mind of Jesus holding an infant in his lap. They were staring into each other’s eyes. The pathway of vision was locked in place. Nothing could have broken the stare. The baby was making the sweetest little sounds, ooing and cooing, and Jesus was absolutely soaking up every bit of it. He was grinning from ear to ear. And the more the baby cooed, the more Jesus grinned. And when the baby sensed the pleasure he was giving Jesus, he cooed all the more. There was a special relationship between the two and they both knew it.

A big grin came across my face. I realized the baby was me. I no longer felt awkward. I didn’t have to look in his face wondering if he was wanting to ask, “What’s a forty-one-year-old doing in the lap of a grown man?” I was in the arms of someone who didn’t feel awkward at all holding me. As a matter of fact, he held me like he didn’t want to let go.

What was happening here was worship and adoration. The baby was so enthralled by the love of the caregiver that his entire being was responding in worship. And Jesus, the great caregiver adored the little one experiencing what he was created for. The more Jesus adored the child, the more the child longed to worship. The more the child worshiped, the more Jesus adored him.

When I saw myself as a child, I had permission to feel helpless. He has asked me to cast all my burdens on him. An infant has no burdens. The infant is totally dependent on its caregiver. And the caregiver doesn’t have a checklist the infant has to pass before being caressed.

Sound inviting?

Don’t think that because there are sins in your life that he doesn’t have unending love songs to sing you. He does.

Don’t think for a moment that he only receives your worship when all your ducks are in a row. You’ll never worship.

Don’t think you have to act your age when you’re around him. Age doesn’t count. The desire of your heart does.

That special bond that happens when a parent is holding his or her child is magnified thousands of times when the parent is Jesus. There are no words to describe the love flowing between an earthly parent and child, yet Jesus’ love is beyond that. His is perfect love. As much as I may be loved by other humans, I long for more. I long for him.

Anytime I want the nurturing that an infant craves, I can go to his lap. I can sit there awhile. He’ll just hold me. Nothing can touch me. I am safe. I am settled.

I am loved.

And if I want to hear his voice, I just close my eyes and listen to his invitation: l am with you, l am mighty to save. I take great delight in you. I will quiet you with my love. I will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

I will show you the path of life; I will fill you with joy in my presence; with eternal pleasures at my right hand (Psalm 16:11).

How great is the love I have lavished on you, that you will be called my child (1 John 3:1).

You are my son through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

And because you are a son, I have sent the Spirit of my Son into your heart, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and since you are a son, I have made you also an heir (Galatians 4:6-7).

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not by anything you have done; it is my gift to you (Ephesians 2:8).

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

You will go out in joy, and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and the trees of thefield will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12).

What comforting words from the Father. Another Jernigan song comes to mind:
When the night is falling, and the day is done.
I can hear you calling, “Come”
I will come while you sing over me.
When the night surrounds me,
all my dreams undone,
I can hear you calling, “Come.”
I will come while you sing over me.

When the night would hide my way,
I will listen until I hear you say,
“How I love you, child I love you.”
When this life is over and the race is run,
I will hear you calling, “Come.”
I will come while you sing over me.

The amazing fact is that Jesus never runs out of laps. You don’t have to wait in line. His lap is always available no matter how many infants are clamoring to nestle in his embrace. He will receive the cooings of worship no matter how dissonant the sound and return adoration in its fullest sense with no strings attached. Where else would you rather be when the dark moments come? Where else could you be once you know he’s there and waiting? Didn’t he once say, “Let the little children come to me”? Don’t act too grown up around him. You’ll find yourself trying to convince him all is well like you do other adults. Grab a blanket, get small, and climb up in the lap of a proud parent. You don’t even have to climb. He’ll pick you up. Be still and listen for his love song. Gaze into his eyes. His are already fixed on you. The love that is shared here will mend a broken heart, encourage the weary, convince the doubting, and heal the wounded. Worship that transforms. Worship as it was intended.

His arms are open. His lap is empty. Come!Wineskins Magazine

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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