Do you trust me? Do you love me? Jump! Those were words I said to my two-year-old daughter after putting her on the hat rack as I donned my coat. She was our daredevil, so I thought she would leap without hesitation into the arms of her loving, tall, strong dad. But she couldnt. She would lean toward me a little, but couldnt trust me enough to jump. It wasnt about jumping; it was all about trust.
Extreme love for God is all about trusting him enough to obey in the small moments. Paul and Silas woke up to such a moment. They had shown their extreme love for God earlier as the crowds betrayed and beat thembut now, no glory, no fan-fare, no invitation to greatness. Only a hard decision as they swooned with pain. Com-plain or sing? Trust or question? Leap into Gods arms or stay on the hat rack? It was all about trust. It still is.
Extreme love is seldom exhibited in the adrenaline-driven moment of great challenge. Those without Christ can do that. Extreme love is revealed in the gloom-shadowed moment when we have been emptied of all spiritual and emotional re-serves. It is when we wake up bleeding, moisture dripping off the walls, abandoned by friends, with rats running across our legs. In such a moment as that, the highest expression of sacrificial love is possiblea love vastly different from anything the world does. When there is no fanfare and no one is around to watch, will we complain or sing?
Lord, open our eyes to your disguised invitations to trust you, to love you extremely.
-Herb Shaffer, Senior Pastor, New Song Community Church, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania