We Interrupt These Blog Posts to Bring You A Hurricane
As soon as I made my plans, Hurricane Irma came and wrecked them. Thanks, a lot.
I’d planned to finish my Enoch blog posts last week, but then we had to jump into Hurricane Irma Readiness mode. My blog instantly became low priority.
My heart breaks at the sight on the news of all those who lost so much in Irma — especially those who lost their lives. It’s devastating!
I’m grateful to report, though, that we weathered Irma well. We only lost our power for a few hours. Long enough to remind me how much I depend on it.
We almost lost a tree, too. After Irma, our Chinese Elm was leaning at about a 45º angle. This is good, though, because it had been growing at an 85º angle since the beginning. Thanks, Irma.
I kept meaning to straighten it out and stake it while it was small, but one thing led to another. By the time I got around to it, the tree was rooted into the hard clay soil and unwilling to budge an inch.
I thought about forcing it but was afraid of damaging the tree — maybe even breaking it. But now it’s just a mess. We’ve got to fix it. Its roots won’t survive being above-ground.
Fortunately, we can pull it up with ease because it’s now loose in the Irma-softened soil. We can give it a fresh start and new life.
Softened Soil & Hearts
Unless God softens the soil of our hearts, no outward pushing or pulling will move it without damaging it.
I’m probably guilty of hurting a few people with my well-meaning attempts to force their hearts to move in a direction I felt was best.
I’ve tried to help God rather than wait for Him to do the work only He can do.
Why do I keep forgetting I’m not God?
God’s Perfect Work
God’s work in our hearts is perfect. Only He knows best what we need.
Sometimes God sends a long, gentle rain to soften a heart.
He’ll speak to us through His Word or and open our eyes to a truth we’d missed or misunderstood. Painless.
Other times, He sends a rainstorm that breaks up the soil of our hearts in ways we wouldn’t have chosen.
Painful, but effective.
And then, when necessary, God sends an all-out hurricane to flood and blow against our hearts until they become putty in His hands.
PAINFUL, but perfect.
God’s Work in our hearts isn’t always fun. When it’s painful, let’s remember:
God never allows the storms to blow beyond what is absolutely necessary to cause our roots to grow deep into His marvelous love.
New Life — New Look
If my Chinese Elm continued to grow at an angle the roots couldn’t support, a strong enough storm would’ve eventually knocked it down to its doom.
With the soil now properly softened, we can give our tree new life that’s able to weather the storms to come.
We can give it a new look, too. A strong look, rather than looking like it’ll fall over if the wind sneezes.
I’m thankful for the storms God has sent or allowed into my heart. He’s used each one to mold me more into the likeness of Jesus.
And hopefully a new look — one that smiles more than it grumbles or grimaces.
My hope is when I’m old and gray (instead of just young and gray — or more accurately, middle-aged and gray) people will meet me and know what Jesus is really like.
At this point, I make Jesus look more like a Picasso painting. But He’s not done with me yet. More softening of my heart to come!
To those of you that I’ve hurt by my pushing and pulling, “Forgive me.” I hope you know it was only because I love you — or because I was temporarily an idiot.
And to those of you who’ve been hurt by other Christians who tried to force your heart to believe in Jesus or look like Jesus — on their behalf, I say, “I’m so sorry.”
And to those who are facing a Heart Hurricane, I say, “Embrace it.”
Hang on, but embrace it. Let God have His way with your heart. Let Him soften and move your heart to where it needs to be. If you don’t, one day a big storm is going to come and knock you flat. It may even break you.
An Encouraging Word From the Word
I now leave you with the incredible encouragement of Ephesians 3:16-20, one of my favorite passages in the Bible:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Time to go finish the last part of my Enoch Walked with God and Had a Methuselah Moment blog posts. And to pray for those who are still feeling Irma’s ire.
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