Have you ever prayed a prayer that you really, REALLY didn’t want answered?
Recently, I felt the protective walls going up around my heart. You know the ones: Hard, stacked stone walls you build when something is going on – and you don’t want to be hurt by it. I was building that fortress around my heart ever so slowly, one heavy boulder at a time.
Eventually, my heart hardened. Things would happen, and I would think “Oh well, there’s nothing I could have done.” Or worse still “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter.” Oh, how I needed a transplant! So I began to pray.
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 NASB
Lord, give me a new heart. Remove my heart of stone. Give me a heart of flesh, so that I can have compassion. Teach me to love like You do, Father.
The more I prayed this scripture, the more my heart would rebel against it. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me! I care about people, I really do!
One day, as I was praying, the Lord revealed to me WHY I didn’t really want that prayer answered.
Because it hurts.
A heart of flesh can be jabbed, stabbed and cut. The soft tissue of a tender, beating heart, can bleed almost to death when it is sliced through with sorrow and grief or harsh, careless words.
You’re trying to protect yourself, I heard Him whisper. But are you really living?
You see, by closing off my heart from pain, I inadvertently closed myself off from other people. Imperfect people with hearts of flesh. I isolated myself, missing out on opportunities to love and encourage others…and to be loved in return. And that is not what Jesus calls us to.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34 NASB
How about you? Have you felt yourself withdrawing? Have you constructed elaborate walls of self-protection?
Jesus never promised us that loving others and living in this world would be easy or pain free. Matter of fact, He warns us we WILL have trials AND sorrows.
And then He says this: “Take heart!”
Open up that ol’ human heart of yours. Be courageous. Yes, you may get hurt. Yes, you may even shed a few tears. That’s the point: We open ourselves to others. We share our abundant life AND the pain that sometimes comes with it. We love on each other in times of laughter and tears.
We walk together in this world, recognizing the promise of Jesus: He has overcome the world.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart (courage), because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT
The trials we go through make us stronger, more courageous.
Lately, I’ve altered my prayer to this: Lord, give me a heart of flesh, and the courage to share it.
Won’t you join me?
Father, Give us hearts of flesh and courage to open them to others. God, strengthen us with Holy Spirit power to be able to pour into people abundantly. With the overflow of all You have given us, enable and equip us to deluge others with Your love. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen
Grace be with you,