Friday, February 13, 2009

Loving God With All Our Strength

My toddler’s been under the weather lately. And last Sunday night she started vomiting about once ever half hour for a couple of hours, poor thing. Normally a high energy, sunny personality, she was barely walking around. So I sat snuggling her on the sofa. For a while now, she’s had this thing about giving “squishes.” These are exaggerated hugs and we family members love ‘em. She’ll squeeze us around the shoulders and tells us “Squiiiiiish!” It’s adorable. Well, that night, weak as she was, she reached up and gave me a squish. Awwww…. melted my heart.

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NKJV)

The Bible talks about loving the Lord our God with all our strength. So often we go through our days and don’t realize how much we are truly at God’s mercy. He is holding us together. If He didn’t hold us in mercy, we’d all be suffering in one way or another, more than we are now (if we are). By His mercy we have blessings of health (for most people) and family or friends. Of jobs and provision. That’s not to say He isn’t merciful in the midst of suffering He allows. But my toddler’s expression of love last weekend really brought this to mind. How often do I love the Lord my God with all my strength?? That’s what my daughter was doing—giving me a squish in the midst of her suffering and weakness. And oh, what that did to my heart. I didn’t even ask her to. She came up with it all on her own and then executed it.

When we’re doing great and things are fine, it’s easy to love God (showing acts of service or worshiping with high energy), but what about when we’re weak in some way—perhaps a job loss has dampened our ego, or an illness has weakened us physically, or we’ve received criticism for something that robbed our confidence or bad news has stolen our peace? What about then? Do we love Him with all our strength?

I don’t want to see this as an obligation because that could become oppressive. What I’d rather do is see this as an invitation. And like my daughter, out of love and appreciation, just reach toward God and love Him with all my strength.

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