Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Our God is all-powerful, creator and sustainer of the universe and all within it, Alpha and Omega, eternal, omniscient and holy beyond our limited powers of description or comprehension. The immensity of Him is perhaps why we so easily slide into a place of imagining that He only concerns Himself with the large things of life – the major problems, the sweeping tragedies or all those things that are beyond our control or our power to resolve on our own.
While it is absolutely true that He is above and beyond anything we can define, describe or even fully comprehend in this life, limiting Him to the realm of ‘things impossible’ has the rather sad result of excluding Him from the greater portion of our lives. As I pondered the meaning of loving Him with all my heart, this simple truth emerged. He is the God of the little things as well as the large.
Love could be defined as the ‘language’ of the heart. It is a heart-response and, if guided by the Holy Spirit, it becomes the expression of our new life in Christ. It is in the heart that life is centred – the Bible tells us to guard our hearts, for from there spring the issues of life. We are to love God with the heart first, then soul, strength and mind. Our hearts direct the process, and the rest of us follows. This is perhaps why love has the ability, even in the natural, to inspire people to things that we may ordinarly see as impossible.
But if the issues of life flow from the heart, it’s logical that this includes all issues, not just the big ones. It’s not only the seemingly insurmountable mountains or endless deep, dark valleys. It includes that impossibly convenient parking bay in an emergency. It includes managing to complete that presentation in half the time required. It includes finding favour with that particular client we’ve dreaded meeting with. It includes a sudden and unexpected arrival of guests when we haven’t been shopping and we have to produce a meal with almost nothing.
The list goes on. For the most part, we give God His due ackowledgement in the larger things of life. We somehow slide into the perception that He’s not really interested in whether our seeds germinate or our new bread recipe works out, that we have to daily juggle the small tasks and schedules that make up our lives, or that we have to find a particular pair of shoes in the right size and colour in fifteen minutes between our last meeting and picking the kids up from school.
As people, we’re essentially wired for fellowship. We have an innate need to share with those we love, and it’s often the ‘silly’ times – the unplanned cup of coffee or spur of the moment dinner date that leave the lasting memories. It’s also, oddly enough, the little things of life that we share more easily. And it’s also true that, though we encounter valleys and mountains and really rough roads between the two, that it’s often the little things that wear us down. We seem to draw deep to handle the big things, but the small ones erode because we perceive them as small and not deserving of the same attention or resources.
Think of a canyon – it’s startling to consider that it possibly started with a process of single drops of water wearing a minute indentation in a rock, creating a path which ultimately directs more water. The erosion process is slow, but it’s also steady and consistent. It niggles at the edges of our patience, endurance, and ability to cope. A single ‘bad’ morning can reduce us to impatience, irritation and ill-temper, which somehow seems to escalate and, before we know it, we’re in a place of mending fences, repenting and apologising, and trying to get back on track.
The real truth is that we need God as much in the little things as we do in the large. It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines, and fellowship is all the more solid and enduring when it’s founded on the daily reality of life, not just those massive moments of need. We’re created in the image of God, and the fundamentals of rich and real fellowship are the same in our relationship with Him as they are in our relationships with our friends and families.
Imagine if our closest friend only contacted us in moments of great trial or difficulty. How would that make us feel? If they provided a meal because they knew we would have a long and exhausting day, and we never called to thank them, how would they feel the next time we had a need? Reciprocal sharing is the nature of fellowship, and God never said that He would guide our paths, but not including, shopping, the dentist and that new batch of seedlings we so carefully nurtured. He’d like to be part of our landscaping project, the blanket we’re knitting for a new grandchild, and even peeling potatoes as Brother Lawrence revealed so clearly.
Most of all, sharing the little things with Him enables the assurance of His presence that is the very foundation of our daily faith. If we cannot trust Him with the little foxes, how will we ever really trust Him with the giant bear? Faith is a process of learning to lean on Him in the seemingly inconsequential things, gradually building us to a place of greater faith, greater trust, greater reliance. We cannot exclude the lower rungs of the ladder and simply leap to the rung of ‘great faith’ when we have a need.
He is our God, our Lord, our Master. But He is also our Father and, like any parent, He wants to know what we did, how our day went, and to be invited along, even if it’s just to weeding the garden or preparing the compost. He desires that we love Him with all our heart, to acknowledge Him in all our ways – all the issues of life. How can we expect Him to make all our paths straight – great and small – if we only allow Him to share the great? It’s rather like expecting our family to be part of our lives, but only for dinner. It simply doesn’t make sense.
Christ, in His love and grace and mercy, endured every single possible human emotion and experience in order to restore us to complete fellowship with our God, to enable us to approach Him as Father as well as Almighty. We are, in response, to love Him with all of our hearts, and we do this by acknowledging Him in all our ways, in all the issues of life, great and small. Then we find that loving Godn with the little things enables Him to love us in the little things too, and builds the fellowship of faith in which all things are possible with God, and He is able to direct all our ways, make straight all our paths – paths that lead always to Him.
Father God, forgive us for the times we unwittingly exclude You in our daily lives, for the perception that You’re only the God of great things and not of the small. Help us to acknowledge You in all that we say or do, to allow You to share all the issues of life, and to fellowship with You through the moments of life. Help us, Lord, in loving You with the little things as well as the large.