Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Strength and Love

Sunday night (OK, it was technically Monday morning) I had one of those wakeful spells that hit me occasionally when things are a little harried in my life. I don’t know what in particular it was that woke me. There’s a huge list of possibilities … and I really thought about boring you with them but thought better of it after a few minutes.

I don’t know what you do when the middle-of-the-night wake-ups come. Sometimes I can get back to sleep just by breathing slowly and consistently. I tried that, but it just wouldn’t work. So I got up and began reading my Bible. (Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not usually that spiritual about things. I usually go downstairs and watch something inane on TV, which sleep experts say is the worst thing to do.)

Years ago I read that Billy Graham made it a practice to read 5 Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs each morning. The 150 Psalms and 31 chapters of Proverbs make a pretty nice monthly devotional regimen. I’ve tried it from time to time, but never with any consistency. Rather than just opening the Bible at random, I decided to go with Graham’s schedule. Monday being the 13th, I read Psalms 61-65 and noticed something in Psalm 62 that had escaped me before. The NIV translates that passage a little better than the NASV I grew up reading.

One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.
~ (Ps. 62:11-12a, NIV)

Think on that a minute. As a young child, I thought my Daddy Jim (maternal grandfather … 6’4”, size 15 shoes) was bigger and stronger than anyone else in the world. But whenever I saw him I always ran to his arms because I knew he loved me. That leads me to a spiritual truth. To know only the strength of God would lead us to fear. To know the love of God would tempt us to complacency. God’s strength – combined with His love – leads us to worship.

I wondered why that passage caught my attention so, but had I not read that passage in the wee hours of the morning on Monday, things that I encountered later in the day would have been more difficult to deal with. With a fresh reminder of God’s strength and God’s love on my mind, I did OK … not great, but OK.

That’s enough to think about for now …


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