Struggles with flesh, struggles with temptation, affliction, tribulation and hassles. Tests from enemies and tests from friends. Some decisions — too many — made without consulting God.
While the details in my life’s story likely look very different than yours, they also probably hold many similarities.
Struggling toward maturity in Christ and a desperate dependence where prayer lives as a necessity, or as Bob Sorge calls it in The Fire of Delayed Answers, “a matter of sheer survival.”
Times of testing for purity. Times of delayed healing.
Times when these sobering truths, stated so succinctly by Sorge, knock the breath out of me:
“It is possible to remain loyal in our love for the Lord
but still miss His highest purpose for our life.”
“We can love the Lord sincerely but fall short of His highest purposes
by not consulting with Him in our decision making.”
“It’s possible to be sincere, have good intentions, with a heart to please God,
and be disqualified from God’s best for our lives.”
Realizing that even in my loyalty, I missed God’s highest purpose. Even in my sincerity, I fell short by failing to consult Him. Even with a desire to please Him, I lost achievement of His best.
Painful truths, to be sure, but necessary lessons in order for maturity and desperate dependence to grow. Agonizing delays waiting for stewardship ability. And embarrassing failure in the process of learning complete reliance.
“Enlarged” does not fully describe my heart, but “being enlarged” does. At times, the reality of an enlarged heart peeks through, but it quickly slips away as my focus goes to the cares of the world, to the struggle instead of to the victory.
Sorge says that an “enlarged heart”:
- Is a heart expanded by God to carry the concerns of others.
- Has a passion for reaching beyond the concerns and issues that affect our own personal life to embrace the needs of others.
- Has a heart for the world.
- Is a heart beating with the passions and concerns of God Himself.
- Is given greater capacity to channel God’s love to others.
- Finds its interests much broader than the confines of its own ministry involvement.
- Freely delights in seeing blessings of God abound elsewhere.
- Is free of jealousy, competition, and comparison.
Knowing the goal helps. Understanding what an enlarged heart looks like shows me the path God is creating in the wilderness and the refreshing streams He’s creating in the dessert (Isaiah 43:18-19).
As God continues enlarging my heart through trauma, crisis, troubles and even calls for radical obedience, the truth that this work comes from Him and through no effort on my part becomes increasingly real. The value of perseverance, patience and love in the midst of this pressure draws me closer to Him, pulling me to a new spiritual plane where weeping and tears along with tastes of divine pleasure flow from an enlarged heart that is also still being enlarged.
DISCUSSION: How is your heart both enlarged and being enlarged?