The Heart’s Waiting
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who for the Lord. (Psalm 31:24)
It is with the heart we must wait on God. “Let your heart take courage!”
All our waiting depends on the state of the heart. As a man’s heart is, so is he before God. We can advance no further or deeper into the holy place of God’s presence to wait on Him there, than our heart is prepared for it by the Holy Spirit. The message is, “Let your heart take courage, all ye that wait on the Lord.”
The truth appears so simple that some may ask, Do not all admit this? Where is the need of insisting on it so specifically?
Because very many Christians have no sense of the great difference between the religion of the mind and the religion of the heart, and the former is far more diligently cultivated than the latter. They know not how infinitely greater the heart is than the mind. It is in this that one of the chief causes must be sought of the feebleness of our Christian life, and it is only as this is understood that waiting on God will bring its full blessing.
Present your heart before Him as that wonderful part of your spiritual nature in which God reveals Himself, and by which you can know Him. Cultivate the greatest confidence that, though you cannot see into your heart, God is working there by His Holy Spirit. Let the heart wait at times in perfect silence and quiet; in its hidden depths God will work.
Be sure of this, and just wait on Him. Give your whole heart, with all its secret workings, into God’s hands continually. He wants the heart, and takes it, and as God dwells in it, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all he that wait on the Lord.”
We are told frequently to follow our heads and not our hearts and this advice may be well given when it concerns things of this world. But when we consider our relationship with God, we must lead with our hearts. There will be times when in our following God that nothing makes sense logically or rationally. Often God will call to a place where our intellectual ability and our heart following of God collide. We must choose at that point whether we will follow our heart or whether we will listen to our reasoning mind. Scripture tell of the many times when those who followed God had to forsake the intellectual analysis of the situation and with the heart follow the instructions of God.
The exciting and sometimes frightening aspect of following God is that He moves beyond the human intellectual comprehension. Those who truly experience the wonder of all God has choose to wait upon God and to trust His wisdom and direction.
Abraham heard the call of God to leave family, friends, and all he knew to follow God. When he asked where he was going, God informed him that he would show him when he got there. No doubt the intellectual side of Abraham though this was crazy but with his heart he followed. The Bible says that “he believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” This is the heart of the issue, no pun intended, that the true following of God is through a belief, a faith that comes from a trusting heart. This heart believes the love, the grace, and in the One that has our best interest at His heart, so it follows even where it doesn’t understand. This is faith, following God even when the intellectual understanding is dark.
We could write literally a book on the contrast of those who attempted to follow God intellectually and those who followed Him with their heart. Let me just quickly give a few examples of those who chose to follow God with their hearts. You can find a lengthy list in Hebrews 11.
Moses who could have remained in Pharaoh’s palace chose to follow his heart and renounced his Egyptian royalty to become identified with the Hebrew slaves. When God sends him to lead the Israelites out of slavery, God chooses to use only his shepherd’s staff and his stutter(Moses stuttered and yet was to speak before Pharaoh’s court). What an illogical candidate and what illogical means and yet as Moses followed God with his heart, the Israelites began their journey. That shepherd staff held over the Red Sea, it parted and the Israelites walked over on dry land.
As Joshua came to the Jordan River, the priest bearing the Ark of the Covenant walk into the river which was in flood stage and it parts and the Israelites cross. Coming to Jericho the great walled city, they march around and blow trumpets and the walls collapse. Illogical!
When Christ comes, a baby born in a manger to a insignificant Jewish girl, a man crucified on a cross, He provides through His own self Gods great salvation plan! Illogical!
I confess that there is much I do not understand intellectually though I read and study and try. Job captures this when he says, “.The ways of God are too wonderful for me.” So I follow with my heart the One who holds me in His heart.
What the world will be like, what the new norm after the Coronavirus if there is ever a norm, how we will cope with a changed and changing environment, I do not know. I realize I’m supposed to know and people expect me as a pastor, leader, father and husband to know, but I don’t. If this seems scary to you take heart. I have for many years chose to follow God with my heart. When things seem overwhelming and my mind goes into overload trying to figure out things, I just go to my Lord and give Him my heart again and say, “Where He leads me I will follow, I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way!”
As we try to navigate through all that faces us, in these times of uncertainty and great stress, let us choose to let God lead our hearts. As we try to make decisions, both as individually and congregationally let us lead with our hearts tuned to His voice. I realize that some things and some ways we have lived and how we have “done church” may be permanently changed. This may challenge us intellectually for we only know what we know, but if God is leading our hearts, we will find ourselves at the end of the day exactly where He wants us to be and His kingdom will continue to expand on earth. Open your heart to God and follow Him with it, you’ll be glad you did!
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil. It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts] And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.
Dr. John Thompson