“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: That you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord are loving.”
The brand new Luce Center had just been built in our two stop light town in central Kentucky. The whole town was buzzing about this state of the art physical education building that would be open to the public to use for the first several weeks before they sold memberships. My boys, Zachary (8) and Jacob (6) were excited about the olympic size pool with a low and high dive.
When we got in the pool, Zach took right to the diving board. It seemed like his legs never stopped moving. He jumped off into the water, kicked over to the ladder and then did the very fast walk back to the diving board (the lifeguard was a stickler on running!).
Jacob, not so much.
He stayed pretty close to the side of the pool in the shallow end. I watched him watch his brother with longing. Closing time for the community was coming, so I said to Jacob: “You don’t have to go off that diving board, but if you are going to, you need to do it quickly.”
He got out of the pool and walked toward it. Then turned back towards the shallow end. He stopped, thought a minute and came up with a plan. . .
“I will jump off of that diving board, if you get in the water underneath it.”
Perfect! I waited in the water and he jumped right in! I caught him as soon as his little head bobbed up to the surface and we swam together to the side. I bet Jacob jumped into that deep water 20 times before we left that night.
What made the difference? At that age, Jacob believed some things about me that may or may not be true. First, he believed that I was strong. You know how kids brag about their “Daddy.” But he also believed that I loved him. This could not be more true! In his mind, if I was in the water, nothing could happen to him, so he could jump into the deep end.
In Psalm 62:11,12, David discovered two things about God: He is strong and loving. This may be the most important things that you need to know about God. And it is important that you know that He is both.
If God were just strong, your response to Him would probably be fear. Remember how imposing the wizard was in Oz? If God were just all powerful, we would cower like the cowardly lion in His presence.
If God were just loving, we might want to be near Him, but what would we do when a mountain needed to be moved or an enemy needed to be defeated? Remember how you felt when you realized that the wizard behind that big green face was just a harmless old man?
God is not either/or, He is both/and! He is strong and loving. Our Father spoke the word and there was light. He breathed into clay and there was man. He gave a dried-up, aged couple a good laugh and then a promised son. He plagued a pharaoh and rescued a race. He caused a fish to catch a man and a man to catch a boatload of fish. He took down a giant with a boy and a sling and fed a gigantic crowd with a boy and his lunch. He stopped the sun from setting and caused the Son to rise. Our God is strong and loving!
Do you know what this means?
You can TRUST Him.
Do you now how precious that is?
Who can you trust today? Politicians, lawyers, salesmen, babysitters, spouses. . . Trust is an endangered species! But I want you to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these two things are true about God: He is strong and loving!
Brennan Manning wrote: “God’s love is capable of transforming our cowardly distrustful hearts into hearts strong in the trust that they are loved. We do not have to do anything, except let our unworthy, ungrateful selves be loved as we are. Trust happens! You will trust Him to the degree that you know you are loved by Him.”
The great theologian, Karl Barth, was asked what the most profound theological truth is that he had learned. He thought for a moment and responded:
“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”
Our free swim of grace is coming to a close. You might as well jump into the deep end of trust. God is strong and loving and He is waiting for you. The water is just fine!