I surveyed the empty glass of peanut butter shake that was now turning to rot in my stomach. I started to sense what was going on. It’s been one of those seasons. Where you go from hard to hard. And you don’t see the end in sight though you dare to hope. This night I was flying solo and now that all four, beautiful, brown heads had been laid to rest I could stop. Stop and let down my walls.
But I didn’t want to let down my walls. My walls were keeping the pain from finding it’s way in and my bleeding heart from spilling out in front of my eyes. I just wanted to watch my favorite Lord of the Rings (because I’m a nerd) and keep it that way. And it worked. The present pain was a muted reality… But so was His presence. And in that moment life went stale. My eyes wandered from dramatic battle on the screen to the plain white ceiling.
(Sigh) Jesus, my self medicating isn’t working so good.
I can’t prove it but I think He laughed.
It’s not you I’m mad at. It’s just life is hard right now and I feel like I need to be hard back.
You know Aroea… you only have one heart. You can’t keep it hard against life and think it’s still soft towards me.
And there it is. The thing about hearts is we only have one.
If that heart is hard against life, hard against people, than it is also hard against God. To think that it can be otherwise is to be deceived. God may be better at finding a way over the stony barriers but our heart is still hard. And if we want our heart to stay soft towards God we must also be willing to let it be soft towards people. Even if it means pain.
But God, what if the wound is too deep… what if I bleed out?
And this is our faith. We dare to believe that there is no wound that He can’t heal. That He is wholly sufficient to keep our heart in a way that we are powerless too. And this is our joy. That even if we suffer we do not suffer alone. His fellowship- that in the smallest of ways we now share with Him this bread (broken) and this wine (poured out)- to love though rejected and serve the ones that wound.
Now, our heart, His heart… they start to merge, start to blur, start to blend. And each day, to a world of terrified, angry, walled-up hearts we start to look like the One whose tender heart was torn first… for the love of us all.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”