Saturday, October 16, 2004

Love in the Little Things

Does God really care about me? You’ve wondered the same thing, haven’t you? If I had a nickel for every doubt that had ever crept into my mind about the extent of God’s love and care for me, well, I’d probably have my house paid off by now with a little leftover for a vacation in Hawaii.

Oddly enough, I don’t often question God’s concern in what I term the “big” matters. I believe that God cares about my health, my spiritual battles, my family, my job, etc. But it’s when He shows concern about the “little” things in my life that I feel like He really loves me.

Like today. After work, I went to Walmart to do some grocery shopping, a frustrating but necessary chore. Almost immediately, I found a parking space up front, right next to the buggy return. And it was totally a blessing, because Walmart was packed and I figured I’d be circling the parking lot for a while before finding a space. I knew that He cared that I was tired, that I’d had a long week, was a little grouchy and needed a little lift to my day. I didn’t even think to pray for a good parking space, and yet He still chose to bless me with one. Amazing.

If I was diagnosed with cancer or some other disease, my gut reaction would be to pray to Him for healing. But what about when I have a cold? I usually tough it out, without even considering asking God to heal me. It’s as if I’m allotted only a certain number of prayer requests per week, and I don’t want to waste my prayers on what I consider piddly stuff in case some major need comes along after I’ve met my request quota. Or perhaps I think that God simply does not care about a runny nose and cough. Not true.

Remember Jesus’ first miracle? He could have chosen to raise someone from the dead or cause a lame person to walk again. Those would have been incredibly impactful miracles, just the thing to kickoff the greatest ministry the world would ever know. Instead, Jesus’ first official ministry kickoff miracle was turning water into wine. Running out of wine at a wedding was an incredible embarrassment, a social faux pas. Jesus’ concern was for the bridegroom’s feelings, sparing him and his family from embarrassment. Right from the start of His ministry, Jesus made it clear that He does care about us in every sense.

When you’re in love, your concern for the other person extends beyond just meeting basic needs. You don’t just want your love to be well-fed, but you want to cook their favorite meal, or surprise them with a box of chocolates (Godivas are always a good choice). Their concerns become your concerns, big and small.

In I Peter 5:7 we’re told, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” God’s love and concern for us knows no boundaries. Everything that we care about, He cares about, because He cares about US.

In Psalm 20:4-5, David writes: “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed…May the Lord grant all your requests.” Notice that David didn’t say, “May the Lord grant only your big requests, the ones that make the most impact.” Nope, his prayer was that God would come through for ALL requests, big and small.

Further, Paul says in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Once again, there are no conditions attached…we are instructed to pray and petition God about anything that could cause us anxiety, whether that’s waiting for medical test results or math test results. Do you think God would have allowed Paul and David to write these things, would have included them in His Word, if it were not so?

Many times, seeing God act in the “little” things reinforces my faith that He’ll come through for the biggies in my life. For example, my friend Aleah and I often remark about how perfectly God picked out our dogs for us, dogs who suit our personalities and have brought such joys to our lives. And we say that if God took such care with giving us dogs, how much more care will he take with bigger matters, such as picking out our husbands? (Don't worry fellas, I’m not comparing men to dogs here!)

God knows when I’m lonely, when I’m anxious, when I’m nervous, when I’m irritable. And not only does He know, but more importantly, He cares! How great is the love our Father has lavished upon us!


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