“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 NASB
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”
― Thomas Merton, Love and Living
It was a beautiful June day with all the elements of perfection: flowers, birds singing, fellowship in church and hope. I was baptized that very day. Others were baptized too and they were hugging, laughing, making joyous comments, feasting and singing. Me? I became somber, reflective and scared. For instance: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Or “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Uh-oh!
Like getting married, or having a child, we do not know what we do not know when we enter into these lifelong commitments. In our family relationships and our relationship with our Father, there will be tests. There will be difficulty. Our relationships remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. We grieve, we struggle, we doubt, we cry. We also celebrate, embrace, support and encourage with joy. A heart of flesh is difficult. A heart of stone represses, ignores and denies. There’s no joy or peace.
The beauty of all is destiny. It could be in your career, family, church or charity. Like the little-known Barnabas, who was the Encourager, there may be little if any recognition. But it was his destiny. He was critical in the foundation of the early church and yet, there’s little known about him. But where would the church be without his encouragement?
What I went through as a mother gave me a heart of flesh. As a troubled teenager, here comes a heart of flesh. As a newly baptized Christian, many instances of receiving a heart of flesh, but all the way through, our Father, Son and Holy Spirit provided destiny for his glory. The destiny of helping another find the Father, no matter the work. “God causes all things to work for good for those that love him and are working according to his purpose.” Not all things are good. Not all things are fair. Not all things feel good. But they will be–here and in heaven with our new heart: a heart of flesh. A heart like our Father’s.
James says to “count it all joy when we encounter various trials.” If you do not bring us through our trials, we will stumble and fall, let alone despair. Thank you that you have brought us through so many things, some of our own making and some out of our control because it solidifies our faith, trust and love for you. Purpose. Destiny. Joy.