And I will give you a new heart, and a new Spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36: 26

 

Hopelessness can be an easy place to get to. Yet, it is a very hard place to be. It is a condition of the heart and the mind that can also become our total state of being. Even when it is connected to some specific area or aspect of life, this loss of faith in the possibility of healing and personal surrender to the inevitable failure of restoration tends to dominate our perception of life. However, even in these most difficult of times in our lives, God is present, and He is totally aware of our condition and desires to provide answers. When God seems so distant and His voice is silent, this is usually the result of our unreadiness or unwillingness to turn fully to Him and to listen carefully to His voice and to accept what He says.

 

God’s promise to restore and to heal is not dependant upon our state of mind or our actions. He is faithful to His word, and God desires to walk through each and every aspect of our lives in intimate relationship with us. The Lord will never depart from us, but He will not force us to turn to Him until we are ready to allow Him to work within our hearts. This is the point in our day where we have a decision to make. Do we want to continue to go through life carrying around the weight of a heart that is hardened into stone or are we willing to face the pain and the hard work of allowing God to transplant His new heart of living flesh into us? It seems to me that the only rational answer is to admit that we are so worn out by going through the things that we are dealing with without the wisdom, strength, and encouragement of the Spirit of Christ that we are willing to endure any momentary pain that is needed in order to gain His promised change.

 

Although it may seem frightening at first, one of the ways that we can begin this transplant process involves opening up of our inner selves to God’s searching and revealing. As you enter into a time of meditation and prayer, ask God to reveal Himself and His presence to you. Ask that He would show you how and where He is truly engaged in your daily life. Allow the Spirit to show you the ways that you are closing yourself off from God’s desired transformative work in your attitudes, thinking, and actions. As you do this, consider how that, despite God’s total presence, your life is not one in which Christ is evident and the fruit of His Spirit is not flowing from you. These areas of hardness of heart, of sin, are aspects of yourself that should be laid upon the altar of Christ and confessed to Him. Now you can fully accept Christ’s grace and forgiveness and set out on the new course that God has revealed to you. In the light of Christ’s mercy and grace hope is restored and true living is found.

 

Repent therefore and return that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Acts 3: 19

 

There are days and times when my ability to draw close to God seems to be impaired. These are those days where my thoughts don’t turn to Him and my heart is often heavy with the challenges of life. One of the difficult aspects of these days is that I seldom recognize what is going on with enough clarity to immediately do something about it. Life goes on and my clouded and misdirected heart leads me into acting in ways that hurt the people in my life and that distance me from the One who can turn this wayward child onto a better path.

 

This turning will not happen until I come to the conclusion that something is wrong and that this wrongness is centered in me. When I decide to move toward the will of God by recognizing my separation from the Lord, He is always quick to act in showing me a better way to think and to behave. God’s open arms welcome me back, and He provides me with strength and encouragement to start to repair the damage that my sinful ways have caused in my world.

 

Living in a relationship with Christ provides us with an ever present opportunity to hit a sort of refresh button, for grace and forgiveness are always given. We are continually accepted with joy and delight when we return to the Lord from our times of drifting away. This return is something like what happens when a ship returns from a very difficult time at sea with its hull battered and the paint peeling off, supplies run low, and critical equipment broken. God cleans up our wounds, restores our strength and replenishes our spirits, helps us repair our damaged relationships, and sends us back into life with a properly planned and well charted coarse to follow. The very real presence of Christ in my life is what keeps me from drifting into dangerous and painfully harmful waters, and He guides me forward into the refreshing presence of God’s grace and will.