Wednesday

Estranged Hearts

You know, I've heard comedians and different people joke about God and how much fun they'll have in hell if they end up there. It's okay to joke, but I think that's just a pitiful attempt at trying to make light of or mock something that is not at all that inconsequential.

If hell were not the infernal torment that popular culture has sort of painted it to be, then I might dare to imagine that maybe a taste of hell would be to have your life flash before your eyes as you see all the moments you with-held and withdrew love from different people. And worse, to feel their pain now with open eyes as you experience the agony of knowing their pain. Yet not only that - the greatest torment would be to have Jesus stand beside you and for you to have to look Him in the eye and see the pain in His eyes - and for Him to ask you why you chose rebellion instead of freedom in obedience (it's a truth nobody likes to hear, although it is the truth that will give us truest liberation).

However, that might just be the pre-cursor to hell: the everlasting torment of regret and separation from God's love. But my dear friends, you must please also remember that hell isn't a place that God wants us to be in! Not, one, bit. That's why Jesus had to come to our rescue. If only we were to all gladly receive His gift of salvation and not reject His love! Remember how Jesus wept when he witnessed the funeral of his good friend Lazarus? He didn't rejoice at death. (Although remember too that death is not the end.) Yet believe it or not, hell is a place that people will stubbornly choose to remain because they don't want to know God's love - and truth.

I've always been clear about the fact that God wants everyone to be saved from hopelessness, from themselves and their own depravity and self-righteous pride. God doesn't condemn people because He likes it. Ironically enough, people choose. And there are consequences to all our choices, whether good or bad. We've been given this wondrous freedom - which could turn out to be our greatest gift if we choose well, or our darkest curse if we choose to misuse it for our own selfish, temporal gain. If we refuse to acknowledge God and who Jesus is, it is up to us. God doesn't force us to love Him back even though His abounding love will never, ever change toward us. While we are recklessly rebellious, we often do not see or even consider His heartache for our estranged hearts.

But the moment life takes a full 180 degree turn around is when we realize our estrangeness. How far we've strayed from the light. When we realize and admit our rebellious pride, when we let go of what we think we want so that we can begin receive what we are freely given the moment we ask with hearts of faith and pure motives, a new thing happens within us. God begins to work His transformative power and love on our hearts, minds and souls.

It's a difficult truth to digest when you and I have pride and ego in us. We tend to like our own way, even if that way leads to our own destruction and misery. Maybe people will say I'm way too 'full-on' or presumptuous for writing such brazen statements. But you must know one thing about me, I don't write or post anything unless I have given thought to it for my own life and unless it is something that is convicting my heart this very moment. I just hope that whatever I do put out there will challenge others to think deeper, think farther, and ask tougher questions of themselves (and even of God).

Look at what's going on in the world today. Now is the least of all times to be complacent about matters of the heart. It is not the time to carry on with life and not stop to consider the things that go beyond food, drink, work and play. Life is so much more than what the physical body wants and needs. Deeper than all that, it is our spiritual bodies that yearn for so much more. But the noise of our own thoughts and of the world around us often keeps us from feeling the hunger pangs of our spirit.

There's so much more to uncover, if only we're willing to open our hearts and leave our pride behind.

~ J a n i e ll e

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