Just like the highways in New Jersey, our hearts are always under construction. God is forever showing us another area that needs to change. It’s so much easier to look at our family, friends or even our enemies and see how they need to change.
But Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.”
It seems pretty evident that I need to stop looking at how others need to change and look at my own heart. But OUCH it hurts!
Sometimes in the midst of the pain of change, we want to run back to the way we were. At least we know how to do “whatever” that behavior is. We want to go back to whatever is familiar, even if it’s wrong or painful and displeasing to God. At least we know how to do it, or how it works. We’ve practiced it over and over; we’re experts at doing it our way. We don’t focus our eyes on our promised land.
We’re no different than the Israelites when God brought them out of slavery. The Pharaoh’s mighty army was right behind them. The Red Sea was directly in front of them. The people cried out to Moses, Ex. 14:11-12, “…Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?… It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Can you imagine? They wanted to go back to slavery! They couldn’t see past the current pain and fear to remember the promises of God and the Promised Land that was there waiting for them. That’s us….it’s too hard we say. It’s too painful. It’s too scary. So we want to just quit.
We forget that God will not leave us or forsake us. He is right there all along the way, ready to see us through, waiting for us to cry out. God is the one who changes us. Phil. 1:6 says that we can be confident “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” We don’t have the power to change ourselves. It’s God who began the new work in our hearts and it’s His power that will bring change to completion.
We can take the steps forward, even if it is slowly, knowing God is there. It’s so much better than running back to the way we were, where this is no victory, certain pain and the displeasure of God.
So are you ready for the Great Physician to do a little heart surgery? It may hurt, but the reward is immeasurable.
Written by Mary Ann Kiernan: Mary Ann retired after 11 years on staff at America’s Keswick, where she served both in women’s ministry and as the Intake Manager at the Colony of Mercy.