My Strength, My Love
“I love you, LORD, my strength.” —Psalm 18:1
In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
One of the most familiar optical illusions is the reversible image where a person sees either two dark silhouettes facing each other or a white candlestick in the center. What a person sees depends on what the viewer decides is the main figure and what constitutes the background.
Life is like that, as well. Two people can look at the same situation and see totally different scenarios. For one person, the situation looks dark and foreboding. But for another person, the scenery is tranquil and abounding in the light of God’s love.
The Jewish sages teach that Psalm 18 was written by King David toward the end of his life. He looked back upon a lifetime of hardships. Remember, he spent most of his early days hiding from King Saul, who was out to kill him; the remainder of his career was spent fighting battles that were not in his favor. Yet, when David looked back at his tumultuous life, he said, “I love you, LORD, my strength.” When David looked back on his life, all he saw was love.
Friends, there are always two ways to look at the challenges in our lives. We can see insurmountable mountains and retreat into a place of worry and despair. Or, we can look to God’s love and lift ourselves into a place of hope, strength, faith, and salvation.
King David so beautifully described God’s salvation from impossible scenarios throughout this psalm. In verse 16, he wrote: “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” Later in verse 28, he wrote: “You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” And in verse 29: “…with my God I can scale a wall.”
Other people might have thought that they were drowning; David saw God pull him to safety with His loving hands. Some people might have seen only darkness; David saw God turn his darkness into light. Sometimes we see walls and wonder if our path is blocked. But with God as his strength, David saw how he could climb over every wall that stood in his way.
David saw God’s love in every challenge, and that is why he was able to look back on a lifetime of difficulties and say with all confidence, “I love you, LORD, my strength.” God has shown me His amazing love, so how can I not love Him, too?
In every situation in our own lives, we, too, can choose to see our worries or God’s love for us. We can see two faces opposed to each other, or we can see the glowing lamp within. Choose today to see light in every situation, and you will feel God’s everlasting love, too.
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