Deuteronomy 30:6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Some people try to say that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, but this and many other passages speak of His grace and mercy. It is amusing to me that the Japanese for this verse says “cut off and discard the skin that wraps your hearts,” rather than “circumcise your hearts.” Circumcision never having been a part of Japanese culture, the image of circumcising hearts would be completely incomprehensible to most Japanese. What comes across to me, however, is that it is a process that can be very painful at the time (since anesthesia wasn’t invented until thousands of years later) but results in cleansing and greater sensitivity. In some ways the image of cutting off a callus might be easier to relate to, because we let all sorts of things dull our hearts, and they build up over time. God doesn’t hesitate to allow painful circumstances in our lives if they will help us open our eyes and turn to Him. My mother had a prayer that I think showed great insight: “Keep (them, me, whomever) from unnecessary pain.” She recognized that sometimes pain is very valuable, whether it is physical or emotional. We aren’t to seek it, certainly, but neither are we to run from it. There are things God needs to teach us that we can’t learn without pain, but once we have learned them we will be very glad we have done so. (Hebrews 12:11) One goal of spiritual growth is to need fewer and fewer of those painful lessons!
This truth is something the Lord needs to remind me of from time to time as I get tied in knots over painful circumstances. Right now I am in the middle of one such circumstance, having great difficulty getting the church computer to connect wirelessly to our new video projector. It’s particularly painful because I am the “go-to guy” for computer problems for several people, so this is a real blow to my pride. Pride is certainly something I need to have “cut off and discarded!” I need to be quiet enough before to Lord to hear His solution, whether that involves further study on my part or whether it involves calling in someone more experienced in this particular issue. That might not seem particularly spiritual to some people, but pride has always been a stumbling block for me, and I’ve had to “go under the knife” many times for it. I’m not to run away, but thank God for His mercy and grace, allowing Him to change me as He knows I need to, for His glory.
Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy on so many levels. Thank You for what You did yesterday, despite my emotional resistance at the time. Help me flow with Your Spirit today on Your schedule, resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You just as You have told me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!