I think that if someone has the Holy Spirit, it cannot bear to be away from itself. I need my brothers and sisters. Being away is like missing out on a part of God. It's like God being divided. It's like myself being divided. Yet as I've lived as a Christian for a little longer, I've started to see that people take the church for granted. Excuses like, "I'm busy," "I'm tired," "It's too early/long/boring," "I have to work" (on Sunday morning, or can you work the other 166 hours in the week?) are lame. Even legitimate excuses are lame. Do you really need anything more than you need God? Is there anything he can't provide?
Unfortunately, to our detriment, something positive like a culture that is friendly to Christianity and religious freedom has created a church culture of apathy. We don't see our need. Sometimes I want to shake these people and say, "Don't you know that in most other places in the world, people aren't allowed to meet?? And you're actually blowing off the opportunity?!?"
It's the same thing with the Bible. What if someone took that away because reading it wasn't allowed? Or what if you were stuck in the wilderness for the rest of your life and that's the only copy you have? You'd value it pretty highly, right? So why are American Bibles collecting dust—displayed in people's living rooms?
In the college group I was a part of for a while, I knew a South Korean foreign exchange student who said something similar. He was also surprised at Americans' attitudes toward church attendance, since in North Korea, Christians have to meet in underground groups. In South Korea, he said, Christians are thankful for the opportunity to meet together without fear.
Today, I am thankful for the opportunity to meet with fellow believers in Christ, and I know that if something like that happened to me again, they would be praying for me fervently while I was away. I realize that writing this is a bit like telling a child over dinner to be grateful they don't live in Africa or wherever, but people underestimate how often this nicer version of persecution happens to young people in America whose parents aren't believers. I've had at least 3 friends who went through the same thing I did. If it happened to you, wouldn't you like to trust that even if you aren't able to physically be with your brothers and sisters, you'd be "sticking together" in your hearts? Wouldn't you long for your spiritual family?
If you're reading this, I don't want you to think I'm trying to beat you over the head with the big KJV I have in my living room (ok, I'll be honest, I don't have a big KJV in my living room). Guilt tactics never work. Just take it as some passionate thoughts from someone who just knows what's important and will probably never forget it. Don't take church for granted. And share Bibles with people who can't afford them—you never know, that thing could become a tattered, lifelong best (only) friend.