A stone heart?

A stone heart?

In too deep
In too deep

 

When we come up against the hard or uncomfortable, when something shakes our world, when we feel lost and without direction, or nothing comes out as it should, when we’ve gotten in too deep, what will our heart trust? The God whose face we cannot see, or an illusion, the product of our desires and dreams?

 

After God freed the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery through astounding miracles, he led them through the floor of the Red Sea without a scrap of mud sticking to their sandals. Once they were safely on the other side, the waves closed in behind them, their enemies lost forever.

Only days later, when the people complained of thirst, God produced fresh water from a rock. When they grumbled from hunger, God rained the bread of angels on them.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before they traded a relationship with a God who lead them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, for a heart of stone.

They only cared about pleasing themselves in that desert,
provoked God with their insistent demands.
He gave them exactly what they asked for—
but along with it they got an empty heart.

Ps 106:14-15 MSG

mountain top above clouds
mountain top above clouds

When Moses stayed too long on the mountain, meeting with God, the truth of their heart worship glared in the noonday sun.

They wanted a god they could keep a handle on, understand, and perhaps even control. They tossed all the loot the Egyptians had given them into the pot.

They cast in metal a bull calf at Horeb
and worshiped the statue they’d made.
They traded the Glory
for a cheap piece of sculpture—a grass-chewing bull!

Ps 106: 19-20 MSG

Then they partied like there was no tomorrow.

Tomorrow is always a problem, isn’t it? We can handle things on our own for a while, serve our handmade gods: work-hard, do-good, get-ahead, live-well, earn-respect, acquire-things, gain-money, nice-house, great-clothes, good-kids, peace-at-any-price, perfect-yard, attend-church, please-people, no feelings-no pain, self-medicate. . .
whatever we go to when our hearts are restless,

when today is not enough,

or the pain is too long.

stone
stone

 

A heart of stone.

empty
empty

 

 

An empty heart.

 

 

No fair, we say.

We didn’t drink miracle water from rocks.

No one gave us the bread of angels.

How long has it been since God showed up?

When I can’t see God, will I fill my heart with things I can see or do?

Or will I remember.

10 weeks in utero
10 weeks in utero

Remember that he knew me in my mother’s womb.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
Ps 139:13-14 MSG

He has plans for me, not to harm me, but to prosper and defend me.

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD’s Decree.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 MSG

He has provided deliverance from whatever pursues me.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Ps 23:4 MSG

He leads me to the rock that is higher than I.

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I.

Ps 61:1-2 ESV

And he feeds my soul
O my soul, bless GOD,
don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
Ps 103:1-4 MSG

When we chose to remember, we chose to trust the God we cannot see.

Who holds us in the palm of his hand.

Protects us on the shadow of his wing.

Provides everything we really need.

And loves us.

We trust he loves us.

In our trust, our heart of stone is traded for a new heart. A heart that sees.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ez 36:26 NIV

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.. . . Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.
Phil 4: 19,23 MSG

Breathing room for my soul

Breathing room for my soul – Where does that come from? Certainly not from trying harder, good intentions and daily tasks, rushing to meetings or practice, raises and promotions, badges or awards, or another day turned on the calendar. We can live our whole lives without breathing room for our souls, can’t we? The harder we try, the harder it is to inflate our lungs. In Western culture, we run our oxygen-starved bodies on adrenaline. What feeds our glory-starved souls?

In the apart-ness of grief, the enforced time alone, my vision, often blurred with tears, clears to a fresh reality. Raw grief strips attachments and resets priorities — richness in relationships and memories.

As I sort through my mother’s belongings, bits and pieces of my life are exposed. I recall how many times God worked, spoke, protected, provided, healed and nurtured me.

How precious the ability to recall!

Grandmother's Clock
Grandmother’s Clock

And for the first time in my life, I see there isn’t time to learn all the things I’ve wanted to learn or do all I’d planned to do.

“Teach us to number our days.”

I never would have guessed I would find breathing room for my soul in sensing my own mortality.

Rather than sadness or panic, numbering my days is setting me free.

I don’t have to become.

I simply chose to live now, love well and share as I am able.

Ahhhh. Big breath.

“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Phil 4:11-13
The Message

Letting go of trying-so-hard releases me. It is enough to be me. ‘Who I am’ is the only thing that I will take into eternity.

And ‘who I am’ is good enough because I am a child of the King, fearfully and wonderfully made.

Relationship with Him undergirds my life, and promises my future, forever.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

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