One of my favorite trips to treat myself to is a guilt trip.
I go guilt tripping just about every day. When someone asks me to do something and I say no. When I send a blunt Teams message to a coworker. When I eat anything at all.
Some of my most intense guilt trips used to occur when I missed my devotional time with God, or if I didn’t pray when I got up in the morning or went to bed at night.
But then I started to tell myself that that was crazy. I shouldn’t treat prayer or devotions like a chore. I shouldn’t guilt and shame myself for something so small. What kind of relationship is so nitpicky, so compulsory that a single missed devotion or prayer portends its doom?
I convinced myself. I started skipping my devotions and my prayer time with shorter and shorter guilt trips, until I didn’t feel guilty at all.
Was it the right decision?
The butterfly effect
Speaking of decisions, I wonder how many times Samson replayed his decisions in his mind once he was finally captured by the Philistines. I wonder how many if-only’s he lamented over.
If only he hadn’t met Delilah.
If only he hadn’t slept with her.
If only he hadn’t fallen in love with her.
If only he had known that she had made a deal with the Philistines.
If only he had ignored her questions about the source of his strength.
If only he had broken up with her once it became blindingly obvious she was trying to take away his strength.
If only he hadn’t told her about his lifelong vow to God.
If only he had believed that breaking that vow would truly take away his strength.
I wonder if it made him angry as he thought about it. How such small decisions completely ruined his life. How something as incidental as a haircut made God leave him for dead.
I wonder how many times his mind screamed the question, Why?
I wonder how he got his answer.
Because we know he got one. Samson didn’t stay mad. For the first time in his known life, he surrendered. No more rash, bold, selfish decisions. No more knee-jerk reactions. No more headstrong impulsiveness.
Samson surrendered to God’s will for his life. He didn’t have what he wanted, and he accepted it.
How could he do it? How could he meekly give his life back to the God who allowed him to be enslaved, lose his eyes, and then lose his life?
I think Samson pulled an Uno reverse.
I think that with one fell swoop, Samson undid his Delilah mistake, and thus all his past, all his pain, and all his suffering began to grow strangely dim.
Samson chose to love God.
When Samson gave up his secret to Delilah, knowing she would cut his hair (like she had tried everything else he’d told her), he did something small that had monumental effect. He cut his last tie with his Heavenly Father.
He made his final and ultimate rejection of God. He pushed Him away completely. He removed Him from his life.
Because by giving up that secret, Samson was saying that he didn’t need God. He didn’t rely on Him for anything. He didn’t trust Him. He would do just fine all on his own.
Until, of course, he didn’t.
I think that once in his suddenly painful and dark new life, Samson realized that he needed God. And then, he probably made a small decision – to pray, to ask, to try to get God’s attention.
And the effect of that decision, we know, was monumental.
“Your small decisions are how you show Me you love Me.”
A prayer says “I need You”.
A Bible reading says “I believe in You”.
Time set aside for devotions says “I want to know You”.
There is nothing too small to do for God. There is nothing insignificant in our relationship with Him.
All of those little things pull us closer to Him. They make Him smile. They lift our hearts. They strengthen our faith. They give us hope.
It doesn’t matter how many little things we’ve skipped or ignored or passed over. All it takes is one little prayer, one little mustard seed of faith, and God will come right back to our sides.
That’s how deeply you and I are loved. That kind of love changes lives. That kind of love saves lives.
And all that Love requires is one little thing.
What do you think? What little things can you do for God?