The Heart of the Matter

I recently volunteered at an American Red Cross blood drive that my home church was hosting. While I was there, I chatted for a few minutes with a man who was there giving blood. He was a very nice man and easily struck up a conversation. One of the first questions he asked me was “do you attend this church?” I simply replied “yes I do.” Before I could say anything else he proceeded to tell me how he hasn’t attended church since he was a kid and he was now 69. His demeanor was very kind, not confrontational at all. He kept repeating three things. “I am lost.” “I am confused.” “I don’t know.” My heart was hurting for him as I heard him say these things. He told me that he had asked God one time to show himself if he was real and nothing happened. This man was a non-believer. Unfortunately, our conversation quickly ended as his ride showed up and I had to move to another station. But the conversation has remained on my heart and I’ve thought about this lost man.

I immediately thought of James 1:3-8:

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

This man doubted and therefore God did not reveal himself. God doesn’t simply reveal himself like a student raising their hand during roll call. And I thought about my own times of doubt. I had doubted without ever even realizing I was doubting. Why was I doubting? I wanted to be in control of my life. I didn’t want to hear God because he may tell me something I don’t want to hear. Something that goes against that control since I think I know best. Something that may be different than what the secular worlds says to do to be accepted by it. The doubt was a mixture of pride and fear. So, I kept my heart closed to allowing God to speak to me.

Trials and pain break us down and humble us. Humility ultimately leads to wisdom but first it leads us to vulnerability. Vulnerability overshadows the pride and allows prayer and an open heart to receive the spirit. It was during the hardest trial and deepest pain of my life that I felt I had completely lost control. Nothing made sense and nothing was right. People I loved wouldn't change their immoral ways and pushed me out of their lives if I wasn't willing to go along with it. I turned to prayer. Raw, vulnerable prayer. For the first time in my life, I was ready to receive the Holy spirit. And receive I did. (Read my blog Greatness for more about this experience that led to my baptism)

Jesus will carry you once you surrender your control to him. It is a life changing event because you truly feel the Holy spirit fill your heart. I had called myself a Christian but I did not know the feeling of the Holy spirit. If you haven’t experienced this, I urge you to surrender yourself so that you can truly experience Christ’s love for you. Let yourself be vulnerable and allow Jesus to fill your heart with the Holy spirit. It is this spirit filling the heart that brings peace and joy. A contentment that no worldly possessions could ever bring. It is an eternal contentment that only seeks more truth and love. And right now, we need a lot more of that. We need a lot more Jesus filled hearts.