June 6, 2020
I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:19-20
During this time of Covid-19 I have talked with a number of pastor friends in Arizona and around the country. They all describe this as a time of pain and brokenness. Life, people circumstances, unfulfilled wishes and dreams, and unrealized plans can break our hearts. Disappointments hit us during this time. We can easily feel brokenhearted.
But look at the nature of a heart that can be broken. It has to be hard or crisp to break at all. It’s usually at the point where life has hardened our hearts that they are vulnerable to breaking. Pride, willfulness, determined plans for ourselves and others, and preoccupations about what should happen are areas where our hearts get hardened by self-determination. What we want is projected onto God, and we expect God to pull it off for us. When that doesn’t happen, we feel our hearts break. They break because, in Ezekiel’s words, they are “hearts of stone.”
The opposite of a heart of stone (one set on its own will) is a heart of flesh. Throughout the scriptures, flesh means our humanness. When our heart of stone is removed, we are given a heart of flesh – an ability to feel the pulse of God’s will and plan for us, one filled with the Holy Spirit.
So, when problems and disappointments break our hearts, there’s probably something deeper than the problem that needs to be broken open and filled with the presence of God. As a result, we are able to feel the Lord’s attitude toward the people or circumstances that have disappointed us. Instead of feeling hurt, we are able to discover deeper comfort and healing than we have ever experienced before.
Dear Lord, we know you never give up on us. Renew our courage today, soften our hearts, and enable us to enjoy what you are doing in us in spite of what may be happening around us. Help us to have a new hope for all our tasks and challenges. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pastor Joel Bjerkestrand