Saturday, 26 February 2011

A Cold Heart and The Love of God

Last weekend was the St.Mikes' Student Girls Weekend. We went to a lovely place near Fishguard in Pembrokeshire.The speaker for the weekend was a lady called Heledd Job, she spoke about 'Image', though that wasn't what I took away from the weekend.

For a while I've been feeling 'cold'. I've found it hard to love God and to really love and understand the Gospel (outrageous I know). I knew that the way to love God more was to understand the Gospel and what Jesus has done for us, but every time I heard the Gospel, although there may be a slight 'wow', it just went through/over me. It didn't sink in, it wasn't making my heart soft or warm, and I wasn't loving God more.

This really frustrated me. I want to love my God, the one who saved me, created me and the world, and loves me immensely.

I went to Girls Weekend in the 'cook's' car to free up space elsewhere, this meant I arrived 3 hours earlier than everyone else. After pealing some potatoes the cook's went for a walk and I stayed in alone. I started reading a book I've got called 'Faith like a Child: Discover the Simple Joy of Loving God'.

Matthew 18:4-5: 
"Whoever humbles himself like this child
 is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me."

This book is really encouraging. Although it is probably better suited for parents, as the author looks a lot at the relationship between parent and child and the way that mirrors the relationship between us and God, I still manage to understand what the author is saying from the point of view of the child.

In the time of reading while the cook's were on their walk I learnt about the need 'to be a child again'. Children have an amazing skill to 'trust, love, and live without considering first what's in it for them' and they are so joyful! They are humble but joyful. They keep life simple and enjoy it. As we grow older we seem to forget how to laugh and play so innocently and joyfully.

However, as the author distinguishes, there is a difference between being childish in spirit and childlike in spirit: 'A childish spirit is immature, while a childlike spirit promotes trust and strength. A childish spirit makes a game out of life, while a childlike spirit remembers to find joy on the path.'

After reading about the importance to laugh and play and enjoy life, I continued to read on... I read about how life is full of rejections, as we are all too aware, but God will never reject us! The Bible talks a lot about feet, especially the idea of dust on our feet from where we have been. As we go through life and do things wrong we get dirty, our feet get dirty, but what we need to remember is that Jesus came to wash us clean so that we will never be rejected. Jesus came to say 'No matter what you have done or not done, only one question needs to be answered: Are you willing to surrender your feet to be washed?'.

This thought was challenging; am I 'willing to surrender my feet to be washed?'. One thing that always holds us back from God is our sin, sometimes we hold things back from God, maybe recent sin or old festering sin. Ashamed of our sin we hide it, then we question why God feels so distant: I know I do. What I needed to do was allow Jesus to wash my feet.

Although I am washed, it doesn't necessarily mean I feel close to God straight away. It doesn't work like that. So I need to learn to go to God anyway. The next chapter in the book is titled 'Sitting on God's Lap'. The author looks at a child's need to sit on their parent's lap when they need comforting or need to feel safe. We need, and I need, to do this with God. I should rest 'in the lap of [my] Heavenly Father'.

Hebrews 4:15-16:
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, 
just as we are - yet is without sin. 
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, 
so that we may receive mercy and 
find grace to help us in our time of need."

I can approach with confidence the throne of grace so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need.

When raising the question of a cold heart in 'question time' at the weekend I was encouraged to find that most people experience a time in which they have a cold heart/desert time/distance between them and God. I was encouraged to hear that it is a time in which God is wanting me to seek after Him more, a time in which I am growing.

Life isn't full of emotional highs, we experience lows and steady times. What we need to remember in these times is to sit on our Heavenly Father's lap, continue to search after Him, and to trust Him with a childlike heart.

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