Have you ever felt like God was pulling on your heart so hard that He might pull it straight out of your chest? Well dear friends…this has been the feeling of my heart for the past few weeks. Let me entertain you for a few moments with the backstory of what I am affectionately calling my “heart condition”.
A few weeks ago I gave a message in our Middle School Ministry services, to our church’s 6th through 8th graders. The theme of our message series was called Unwrapping Christmas – all about digging into the cultural details of what was really happening in the first-century Jewish world that Jesus was born into.
The part of this message that wrecked my heart came through this verse:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Through my study I learned that the Hebrew word for peace is more literally translated, not as the peace that we associate with war-free times, but as complete fulfillment. In other words, when the angels proclaimed that the coming of Christ would bring peace on earth, they did not mean that He would bring forth a world without war or destruction. Rather, God was proclaiming that the coming of Christ would bring complete fulfillment to the earth.
In the midst of the Christmas season, where gifts and tangible objects are at the forefront of our attention, we try to find our fulfillment in all the wrong places.
Think about it: When’s the last time you were COMPLETELY FULFILLED by your iPhone? Or your car? Or your house? Or your newest gadget?
I can help you with that one….never.
We have never and will never be completely fulfilled by the things of this world. Complete fulfillment…peace…can only come from Jesus Christ – His presence in your life.
So what do we do with this new-found knowledge of peace?
We ask for less.
We expect less.
We desire less.
And we serve - serve others.
People we know.
People we don’t.
Why? Because that’s what Jesus did. He served us with his life by leaving His Father in Heaven, coming to Earth, and dying on a cross for our sake and our sake alone.
Where does my “heart condition” come in?
Well… my husband and I are expecting our first child this coming April - a blessing that we have been praying for and are so excited about. And just like any new blessing, there are hardships that we are preparing to face with this little addition to our family.
One of those hard conversations that we have been having revolve around our financial budget and just how we are going to make it work with another mouth to feed and all the time and attention a baby needs and deserves.
Sparing you the not-so-fun details… we have absolutely no idea about how God is going to help us make it through this time of financial change in our lives. Literally… no idea.
And for the past few days this fear-of-the-unknown has plagued my heart and my mind for hours on end. I kid you not – I have lost exorbitant amounts of sleep and sanity worrying about how my God will provide for me – knowing that he WILL – but wondering HOW? My heart has ached to feel financial security.
And the final answer is this… it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how He provides or even that He does provide.
What matters is my hearts willingness to follow Him wherever He leads me; To the ends of the Earth, through the valley of the shadow of death, to unknown places – just follow.
If I find myself and my family with our finances completely depleted…then I’ll be in the company of Paul when he penned these words:
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead….. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 1:9; 4:18)
My personal conclusion and my charge to you is this:
Say YES to the calling. No matter the price. Regardless of what you have to give up. Just say ‘yes’. And God will see you through. You won’t know how. I don’t know how.
But I know that the only way to get over my “heart condition”… to have true peace… complete fulfillment… is to embrace the calling that God has called me to.
All My Love,
~ Susan Lowry