“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.”
Isaiah 46:3-4 NLT
The heart of God the Father is so evident in these verses! He’s here and He isn’t going anywhere. He made us, and He will take care of us. He is THE Father! And though it’s a daily battle to believe it, He is absolutely present and engaged with me. It’s hard to believe because of who we are—not Him. He is now exactly who He’s always been: a loving Father. We are called to “become like little children,” and most (if not all) of our problems come from refusing to be just that.
In my last post, I told you that I experienced extreme pain before I finally prayed. Well, I am on my face about that. A child in pain cries out! They do not endure or remain impassive. A child responds from the heart. I had to be pushed to cry out because my natural heart response is unacceptable TO ME. I clamp down on my heart, killing my natural, honest response, and I call it good. I call it maturity. I call it noble. Sometimes I pervert the very Word of God and call it suffering for the sake of Christ.
Stoicism is defined as indifference to pleasure or pain. God is showing me just how unnatural and repugnant stoicism is, particularly for a child. Jesus felt pretty strongly about humanity’s embrace of stoicism—and the consequence is unequivocal.
We played the flute for you,
but you didn’t dance;
we sang a lament,
but you didn’t mourn!
“But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Matthew 11:17, 24 HCSB
The hardened heart does not respond to life – to God! – naturally and honestly. When they witnessed Jesus’ miracles, these stoic hearts did not repent (Mt. 11:20-24). A dead heart is an abomination to God!
I am horrified by what He’s showing me. There is absolutely nothing good or admirable in my attempts to endure pain of any kind. Paul didn’t! When he was racked and buffeted and harassed, he cried out. “Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me” (2 Cor. 12:8). That the Lord had a glorious purpose for the pain and didn’t remove it from Paul is not the point. The point is that Paul was a child and cried out.
God, forgive me for worshipping at the altar of strength and endurance and calling it good. Thank you for Your grace and longsuffering patience with me! I bless You for the repeated breaking of my heart; it is the greatest kindness, the most merciful LOVE I’ve ever known.
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.
Psalm 34:18 Amplified