I have four children. I am honored to have been entrusted by God to raise them. I learn from each of them on a regular basis. I learn my weaknesses and strengths through them. They aid me in viewing life through their filters and not just my own. Just a few moments ago, while going through my nightly ritual of tucking my 10 year old daughter Mia to bed…God spoke to me.
On a side note, I’ve said recently that I’ve never heard the voice of God audibly. Tonight Mia taught me that God’s audible voice isn’t as I expect it….sounding like thunder or at least sounding like Dennis Haysbert…the man with the great voice in the Allstate commercials. I learned tonight that God’s audible voice can come in any form. Its easy to test if it was actually the voice of God. Whatever was spoken must be parallel with the Written Word of God in the Bible. If what I heard, or you hear, does not line up with the Written Word of God, then it wasn’t God’s voice we heard.
We always have this ritual we go through at night. First she stands up on her bed. It wasn’t that long ago when she stood up on her bed and she would still have to reach up and squeeze hug me and then kiss me on the cheek. (When Mia hugs me…you can tell she means it…I love her hugs.) Tonight, when she stood up on her bed, she had to reach down to give me that hug and kiss on the cheek. My baby girl is not a baby anymore. After she gives me the hug and kiss on the cheek, I return by giving her a hug, but my hug is intended to squeeze her hard enough that I pop her back…she’s gotten strong now, and as she giggles, she tenses up and its a rare thing to actually get her back to pop anymore! When we are done laughing…I turn and walk to the door, and turn off her light. She then jumps down from her bed, runs to me and hugs me one more great time and then I close the door. Every time the door closes she speaks from her bed to me through the door… “Dad.” I always answer, “Yes?”. Then she says, “I love you, dad.” I always smile and say, “I love you more.” She’s a little competitor and she always tops my reply by saying back to me, “I love you most.”
Tonight…I, don’t know why I said what I said, but I replied back to her by saying, “Mia…I believe you.” And I just stood outside her door as she was obviously thinking. It was a long pause. Normally I would just walk off and get ready for bed, but I stood there longer than normal. Then she spoke.
She said, “Dad.”
I replied, “Yes?” Only a thin door between the two of us.
And then God spoke through her. She said, “Dad…I love you more than the word love.”
I didn’t know what to say. I just stayed silent. But my heart melted. I know she didn’t expect a reply. She just wanted to say what she felt. I don’t know if you have experienced the feeling or not, but God spoke and I heard Him audibly…His voice just came tonight in the form of a loving child. Pure. True. Real. Love.
“I love you more than the word love.” My 10 year old understands the theology of love better than most tenured doctorate degreed professors, theologians, preachers and seasoned christians. Love is so much more than a word…a greek study…or an acronym in a four point sermon.
“I love you more than the word love.”
Maybe this story has touched your heart in a way tonight that would cause you to have the perseverance to read through 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Mia…if you read this someday…“I love you more than the word Love, too.”
Thank you Mia…for loving me more than the word love.
Thank you God for loving me more than the word love, too.
I don’t deserve it, but I accept it.
By the way, reader…God loves you more than the word love, too.