Removing the Heart of Stone

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , ,

It’s a sad thing to pray a prayer that God can’t answer because the heart of the one praying isn’t sincere.  Over the years, I wouldn’t want to know how many of those I prayed.

For whatever reason, I always had a heart problem.  I wanted to follow the Lord and do what was right at some level, but only on my terms.  Bottom line – If I was the one calling the shots, He wasn’t really my Lord.

The prayers of the hypocrite go like this:  “Lord, I’m sorry that I haven’t been living right and following you like I should be.  Please forgive me and help me to do better.”  The words themselves are a prayer that God wants to answer.  It’s hypocritical because I knew, even as I would say the words, that I wasn’t really willing to change.  I didn’t want to do better.  I just didn’t want to feel guilty.

We all have our currency.  We all have something that is worth enough to us to want it, work for it, and be willing to change if necessary.  My currency turned out to be my wife.  As we approached two months of still living under the same roof and sleeping in the same bed, but having next to no level of intimacy, the urgency to somehow fix what was broken began to skyrocket.

I finally did the only thing I could.  I got real with God and with myself and I began to pray in earnest.  I began to pray prayers that I not only meant, but that emanated from a heart and soul in desperate anguish.

Nothing changed overnight.  You’ve got to realize, even though God knows our hearts, He’d been listening to these kinds of prayers off and on for two or three decades.  If I was serious this time, I was going to have give more than lip service.  It was almost like He was giving me the chance to reconsider.  “Do you really want what you are asking for?  Do you really even understand what you are asking?” were the implied questions in the days that followed.

I was praying about my marriage, but instead of answering in terms of that, God began to show me what I had done to my relationship with Him.  He began to let me look into His heart and see how pure and true His love had always been for me, and how horribly unfaithful I had been to Him over and over again.  I had pledged myself to Him so many times, but just like a wayward lover, I had gone after whatever caught my fancy and left Him with the choice of forgiving me and taking me back one more time or rejecting me for good.

In Ezekiel 36:26, God says, “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”  That’s what I needed.  Heart surgery under God’s masterful hand.  I let go of all the things that had held me back for so many years and went under His knife.  I allowed Him to reach inside and show me all the horror of my inner self.  I allowed Him to hold the mirror in front of my face and compel me to look.  And I allowed Him to cut away that stony, stubborn heart and remove it once and for all.

I can never decribe or explain the pain of that experience (which lasted for days, not minutes or hours).  I never knew my eyes could hold that many tears.  I only knew that, through the agony, healing would come.  I knew that death was what I deserved, but life came instead.

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