These days, I’m doing all I can to keep my heart from turning into a brick. And that’s not really saying much because I’m exhausted beyond words, rendering that “all I can” fairly ineffective. Seems like a heart in pieces is exponentially heavier and less mobile than a whole and happy one. I’m so over this feeling, but struggling to shake it. Just when I was thinking that conventional methods to get through “it” weren’t working…
While doing some reading this a.m., I came across the timely passage detailed in Mark 6 about when Jesus walked on the water. Earlier in the day, the disciples witnessed the feeding of the five thousand with just five loaves of bread and two small fish. Then in verses 45-52 of this chapter, Jesus sent the disciples ahead of Him on a boat across the Sea of Galilee while he went up into the mountain to pray. Several hours later, Jesus saw them struggling against the winds and waves and came walking out towards them on the water. Verses 48-52 (AMP) read:
“And having seen that they were troubled and tormented in [their] rowing, for the wind was against them, about the fourth watch of the night [between 3:00-6:00 a.m.] He came to them, walking [directly] on the sea. And He acted as if He meant to pass by them,49 But when they saw Him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and raised a [deep, throaty] shriek of terror. 50For they all saw Him and were agitated (troubled and filled with fear and dread). But immediately He talked with them and said, Take heart! I Am! Stop being alarmed and afraid. 51 And He went up into the boat with them, and the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating). And they were astonished exceedingly [beyond measure],52 For they failed to consider or understand [the teaching and meaning of the miracle of] the loaves; [in fact] their hearts had grown callous [had become dull and had lost the power of understanding].”
Skewed perspective…lack of understanding…not hearing clearly…dulled expectations…not remembering. All of these symptoms of a hardened heart prevent us from putting “it” all together and applying spiritual truth to our lives. You might think that because the disciples had front row seats to His miracles, they would be full of faith at all times…especially on the boat. However, I don’t gather that this was the case. They had been tossed and turned by the violent waves for hours and, at this moment of grave need, there was no sign of their Savior. The condition of their hearts prohibited their understanding…To the extent that they were frightened and even shocked when He showed up. Accordingly, the disciples had not connected the miracle performed for the 5000 and His divine nature.
Implicit in everything God does for us are these two foundational truths: He is faithful and He can be trusted. However, let enough time pass without hearing from Him, feeling Him and/or seeing Him and we are stricken with a severe case of spiritual amnesia. When Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, He was telling us that in Him, there is no lack. For every need that exists, He is the source. When Jesus entered the scene in v. 48, walking on the very thing that was tormenting them, He made it clear that He is in control. He is Lord of ALL…greater than anything. This is who God is…Dismantling the impossible is what He does. His timeliness and awesomeness should not shock us, but rather be our starting point of expectation. All of the aforementioned can be lost on the calloused heart in the most critical of times.
The extraordinary things God does in our lives can be likened to “restore” points on a Windows-based computer system. Restore points allow the system to revert to a previous state without losing personal data files. These points are created when significant system events occur or periodically as set by the user. Without restore points, there won’t be a healthy configuration to return to in the event of system instability or corruption. Similarly, it’s like having the ability to look back upon a “snapshot” of desperate times in your life and be reminded of God’s faithfulness. A failure to remember the ways God has revealed Himself will leave one bitter and hopeless in times of need.
Lamentations 3:21-26 (AMP):
“But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation:22 It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him. 25 The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word]. 26 It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.”
Jeremiah spent most of chapter 3 bemoaning the destruction of Jerusalem (well, the whole book). Then He remembered the Lord’s mercy and compassion. Though under no obligation, God is consistently gracious towards us and good to us. We are afforded unlimited access through relationship with Him…a mercy that we could never earn and certainly don’t deserve. He cares for us…He is kind to us. He LOVES us. This knowledge is the wellspring of hope and expectation.
My spiritual survival is predicated on my ability to remember. Knowing, being sure of and remembering who God is are the lifeblood of my relationship with Him. Through experience, I know that the recollection of His work in my life affords understanding and sharpens my perspective like nothing else can. I should never be amazed and surprised when He shows up for me in a timely and remarkable fashion…it’s what He does. My disappointment has had me so stuck lately. But in writing this post, I realize that as I’m asking God to do a work on this heart of mine, I’m really imploring myself to be more thankful. For a heart marinated in gratitude will always thrive.