I love you, Lord, my strength.
I hope I don’t lose you here, but I could spend a couple of months on Psalm 18. It means so much to me! I won’t, but, oh, let’s wring every drop of glory out of these words, all that we possibly can!
It is what we need, Who He is, what He will do, why we cry out, why we sing, what will happen to our enemies, all rolled into one glorious song of praise and revelation!
With all that in mind, I would like to begin with a focus on one verse, the first verse, and as always in this manner, for our Dear and Desperate Little Friends.
Do you know anyone, young or old, rich or poor, successful or forgotten, whose life would change overnight if only they could say these words from the depths of their heart?
I love you, Lord, my strength.
For me, there was a time when, with a very little bit of Christianizing in my childhood, Christmas and Easter Christianity for the most part, I would have recognized a little latent love for Baby Jesus, for Dying Jesus, but I seldom contemplated either beyond the holidays. Still, Christmas and Easter Christianity is powerful, isn’t it? It is enough to take us to that place where, we may not really KNOW HIM, but we begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Yet, to be able to say, to shout, to sing, to rejoice: “I love You, Jesus!” … that’s another dimension for most of us, and I can think of so many of my D.L.F.s for whom I might wish just an hour or an evening of time alone with the Lord, their strength, loving Him.
For best results, not just acknowledging, “Yes, I guess I love God,” but l-o-v-i-n-g Him, in prison, loving Him more than needing Him, at school, loving Him more than defending Him, at home, loving Him more than wanting anything more or else than His will and His way.
A step further, for my Dear and Desperate Little Friends, and for all of us, loving Him with that love that “hates” everything else. There’s a Scripture about that, and it’s a hard one. Most people think it means, “by comparison.” I rather prefer the idea that nothing else can be held up to match or parallel that love in any way. Oh, to love Him in such a way that we would “hate” our own way and our own thoughts, not in comparison with His, but because His are all good and true and right and perfect, and ours are not.
In prison, to “hate” any waking moment when we hate being there, because He is with us. Talk about a hard saying, but is it not true? When I pause to ponder, I don’t see Joseph or Paul “hating” prison; too much hate would have distracted them and diverted their love. They seem to have been too busy serving and worshiping the Lord, their Strength.
In a difficult relationship, to “hate” wishing for something more or better, because HE is our portion. The minute, the moment, we can stop hating our difficulties and begin loving our God, and through Him those He has given us to love, is the moment we step out of every prison of diabolical locks and bars.
Hating our parents, hating our past, hating our jobs, hating our faults, hating our failures, hating our lack, hating our circumstances, hating ourselves … Father, for those I love, for the dear ones for whom I pray and care deeply, may they be given grace to hate all the hating they have harbored, to hate comparing Your love to their lack, and decide instead to love You, O Lord, our Strength.
Chuck Colson, Founder of Prison Fellowship International and Evangelicals and Catholics Together, White House photo, U.S. Government image, public domain, Wikipedia