By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
Loving God Wholeheartedly
By Anne Peterson
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” - Jeremiah 29:13
Did you ever look for something you’ve lost? You’re retracing your steps, trying hard to remember when you last saw that item, and yet, you’re coming up empty. Maybe it’s because you’re not really engaged, just trying to go through the motions.
Or how about when you are with someone, and they are having a conversation. You are there with them, but not completely. And you think you’re pulling it off, till they ask you a question, and then you’re forced to confess you weren’t really listening. Or here’s an even better example. You’re on the phone with someone and they’re explaining something to you in detail, when suddenly you interrupt and say, “Hey, listen to this!” And you share something you saw on the internet. Yes, I did this just today. And how did my brother feel? Unimportant.
There have even been times when I’m reading the Bible, but when I get to the end of the passage, I don’t remember what I’ve read. It’s possible to do many things half-heartedly. Maybe that’s why God tells us that we’re to trust Him with our whole hearts (Proverbs 3:5).
My Bible teacher had this gift I thought was rare. No matter who she was with, Lois made them feel as if they were the only one on earth. For that time we spent with her, we felt special. Like we really mattered.
Do you know what really helped me know how to be present? A sweet baby granddaughter who now lives in heaven. Olivia was born with a genetic disorder, Trisomy 18. There would be many things she would never do, according to the doctors. But in her short 14 months here on earth, she taught us the importance of being where we are. I learned if I wasn’t present with Livie, I might miss something.
In Psalm 139, David describes how fully God knows him. God knows our thoughts before we verbalize them. And not only does he know our thoughts, but he knows our every movement. God studies us. Which reminds me of when I first knew my husband.
I hung on every word he said. Wow, that has somehow changed through the years. But God is always leaning in to hear even words we whisper. This wonderful, loving Father, who doesn’t want to miss a thing, just like me and Livie. No wonder, as parents and grandparents, we love those God gives us. He shows us how.
God tells us we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10). I heard a speaker expound on this passage saying that we are God’s poem. That seeped deep into my heart since I’m a poet. Actually, I’m a poem God knows by heart.
David was called a man after God’s own heart. Maybe because David sought the Lord with his whole heart. It’s true, David made mistakes in his life, but when he did, he knew where to go—to God.
Sometimes when we blow it, we don’t go to God, we try to hide. And yet, eventually, we realize that there is no place we can hide from God. He is omnipresent. And even the dark won’t hide us, because God is light, and there is no darkness in him (1John 1:5).
I love to walk. One of my favorite places to walk is in the cemetery by my house. I can walk there in the morning and it feels like it’s only me and God there. And sometimes He’ll even have a deer or two show up. I like seeing the dew on the morning grass, making it shine like diamonds. It’s a time where I can’t help but remember the old hymn, In the Garden. It’s about walking with God, holding hands. I’ve walked in that cemetery for years. Through times when my heart was light and full of gratitude. Other times when I tried to process still another loss. And each and every time, I never walked alone. He and I walked together.
Sometimes I start out by just praying and letting him know what’s on my heart. And often I will end up singing. It’s funny. Even on hard days when my heart has been burdened, I leave feeling lighter. Maybe I’m learning how to love God wholeheartedly.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Yes, sometimes it may seem easier to love God with our whole hearts. While at other times we get swallowed up in the circumstances surrounding us. And yet, even in those times when we offer him half of our hearts, He still is attentive to us, ever patient, always loving. I’m so glad that we can read about David who knew he was loved by God and knew the door to God was always open.
Father, I pray for anyone who may be struggling today. Perhaps they feel distance from you and don’t realize you are always there. The circumstances of their life are clouding their vision. Lord, draw them near to You. I pray this in Your Son’s precious and Holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Your Biggest Smile
God, with all you have to do,
I’ve never heard you say,
“I’m sorry, but I’m busy now,
come back another day.”
You listen to my lengthy prayers,
though others need you everywhere.
You always wear your biggest smile,
like I’m your only child.
©Anne Peterson 2021
Photo credit: Emmanuel Phaeton/Unsplash.com
Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published a book entitled He Whispers: Poetic talks with God. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.
Parenting in this day and age is not for the faint at heart. That’s why Mama Take Heart is here to help you be the gospel-centered, compassionate, and influential voice in your Gen-Z daughter’s life. In this show, we give listeners the tools they need to love and lead well in their child's formative years. Host Robrenna Redl is here to help equip and empower you with resources and practical takeaways, whether you’re looking for ways to intentionally connect or to have hard conversations. So don’t fret, Mama. Instead, take heart!