It’s a brave thing to keep your heart a heart of flesh, tender and gentle in the midst of challenge, hurt, and the grief of this world. I
One of my favorite book characters of all time is Lucy Pevensie in “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Although we could note her curiosity, bravery, or gift of healing– instead the trait she is known for is her brave tender heart. In the midst of her older, much more mature siblings, her heart remains pure, trusting, and tender– not yet hardened by the doubts or pains of the world.
What is it about a tender heart that is so admirable? We, who are grown now, roughened up a bit (or a lot) by disappointments, challenge, heartache, remember the time our hearts were soft. In fact, we may either yearn for those moments again or in some cases resent the naivety of it.
Tenderhearted Lucy, in “Prince Caspian” finds herself on a unique journey. She has aged some since the last adventure bringing with it some of the pains of growing up. The gist of the story is that in the midst of a challenge their Savior Aslan was seemingly missing. Nobody knew where He was or why He wasn’t showing himself. The older siblings start to lose faith in Aslan, even to the point of questioning if He was ever real. Lucy, with her child-like faith and tender heart continued to believe in her Savior, Aslan. The other children started to look to their own resources, but she was the one who remembered the One who was Truth. Later, she is the one who Aslan appeared to and spoke tenderly to.
Oh to have a heart like Lucy! To trust the Father, even in the midst of excruciating circumstances. Our hearts started out this way and still yearn to be this way.
Did you know our hearts were modeled after our Creator’s? Yes, He gave us a heart after His own— tender, loving, gentle, trusting. The world gives its best shot against us (sometimes through choices of our own, situations we face or even just the fallen nature of this world). It can often do a number on the tender heart. The enemy would love nothing more than to injure, (“steal, kill, and destroy” John 10:10) and render our hearts beyond repair, broken, useless. But Jesus has come to give us life, life to the full (John 10:10).
In the midst of the things that would make their best attempt to harden our hearts our great Savior is calling us closer. He wants to remind us we’re never alone, to remind us even in the heartbreak of this world, or even when we don’t understand why things are going a certain way— He’s there. He’s our gentle, tender hearted Aslan. It’s in surrendering our hearts to His tender care that our own hearts remain gentle and tender.
It’s a brave thing to keep your heart a heart of flesh, tender and gentle in the midst of challenge, hurt, and the grief of this world. It’s impossible to keep our hearts soft on our own. Often will feel like we must put a hedge of protection around our heart or we think we must never love deeply again in order to protect ourselves.
It’s a good thing that keeping a tender heart is not 100% up to us:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26
Next time that something hurts deeply and we are tempted to close off our hearts—we must surrender our hearts again to our Savior God. Let’s place our heart in His hands- the only place it will be truly safe and secure. To do this is an act of bravery, an act of trust, an act of faith.
We put trust in the fact that He’ll hold our hearts, He’ll be there with us. He’ll even mend us and put us back together. If you find yourself questioning Him and His faithfulness— don’t turn away. Talk to God about it. He can handle it and show you a new way of trusting Him. Let Him minister to your heart today.
The parts of your heart that are broken, hurt, closed off, barriered off, even forgotten— let Him bring your whole heart back into His tender love and care. Let Him, in His own tender and gentle way, restore life and tenderness to your heart. The places of the heart that were stone gray, dead, lifeless now spreads a fleshly pink, the life returns because of His touch. Don’t be afraid to admit to Him all the shortcomings, hurts, fears, griefs and sorrows you’re facing. He knows anyway. The act of telling Him and letting Him in to connect with you over those things, brings great healing.
He’s the faithful friend that sits with us as we pour out what is in our hearts. He listens, He understands, He feels. He himself has such a gentle and tender heart that He feels our heartache as His own.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”Hebrews 4:15-16
He’s the ultimate empath, the ultimate compassionate God. We see over and over in the Scriptures about how He felt compassion in His heart towards the people (Luke 7:13, Matthew 15:32, Matthew 9:36). I know one day when look in my Savior’s eyes I will see a depth of love and love never known before.
I encourage you friend when you feel:
like boxing your heart off,
breaking away a piece of your heart to keep it safe,
or hiding away to keep your heart unaffected or untouched by the world and its problems—
to entrust your heart to the Lord, place your heart in His hands. Yes, even if it is in pieces. Yes— even if it is stone cold. We are jars of clay– human, imperfect— (2 Corinthians 4:7). God made us this way! And guess what? He knows us, loves us, and does not demand perfection from us.
When we trust Him fresh and anew, in enters His grace… it is actually in the admitting of being broken—not able to do it on our own for ourselves— that we throw open our faith in the Lord and lean on Him for our answers. Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-28)? There was no way they could save themselves… God saved them from the fire. But their prayer had been “even if He did not save them they would still trust Him”. Now that’s extreme devotion! (Thanks to a long time family- friend and his wife for their recent talk with me about this and inspiring the completion of this blog! 😉)
My prayer for you this week:
Father God, may you encourage my friends today. May you help them to see and to feel your tenderness and faithfulness this week. May you take the pieces of their hearts and hold them gently and safely, like You always do. You are the great Aslan— we ask you to administer your life and healing. You are the expert at that.
May You help all of us in this in the midst of this cold world to stick close to you, to allow you to breathe life, health, and faith into our hearts.
May we shine as the daughters and sons of the King that we were meant to be (like Lucy) until you bring us all home where everything will be restored to its rightful place, and our hearts will sing. No longer will there any be any more pain or suffering (Revelation 21:4)
So until that day, we continue to trust you, King Jesus, with our hearts. Keep us tender, compassionate, and gently in your care. Help us know, that like Queen Lucy, we can make a big difference in the healing of hearts by leading people to you while there’s still time. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Until next time,
P.S. Another book series I’d like to recommend to help grow your children’s (or grandchildren’s) faith this summertime is “The Kingdom Series” by Chuck Black. https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Volumes-Kingdoms-Quest-Reign/dp/B01JMW71QM
Summertime is a perfect time to invest into the hearts of our children and to encourage them to to place their hearts in His tender care— that no matter what goes on in the world, no matter what tries to bend or break or hurt their hearts they can know without a doubt that Jesus loves them, that they’re safe and cared for. Do you have any Christian book recommendations for children or teens? Adults? I’d love to hear.
Here’s a few glimpses into our summer so far: