Day 18

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A Warfare of Rest – Day 18 – A New Heart

Have you ever had one thing you really set your heart on as a kid – one thing you wanted more than anything – but never got? Maybe it was a new bike or the newest Barbie with all her fashion accessories.  You dreamed, you hoped, you dropped hints to your parents, you wrote letters to Santa – but somehow that toy just never materialized.

For me, it was a Betty Crocker Easy Bake oven.  I was 8 and I wanted one.  Badly. It’s all I could think about – how I would bake cookies and little cakes, just like my mom.  I pestered my parents mercilessly.  But my mother, ever the pragmatist, quickly dashed all my hopes. 

“You are not getting an Easy Bake oven so you can burn the house down.” 

Period. End of story. My first taste of the bitter pill of unfulfilled desire.

But certainly not my last.  Like every other person, my life would not unfold the way I dreamed as a child.   And late one Christmas Eve, a few years ago, I found myself in a deep place of despair, overwhelmed by all the things my life wasn’t, all the things I didn’t have, all the promises that were unfulfilled. With tears streaming down my face, I cried out to the Lord.

“God, I don’t know how much longer I can live like this.  All the hurts and disappointments have warped me and I feel like the real me is locked up in a castle of fear.  I hear what You are saying, but I can’t get out of the castle.  I’m afraid to trust, I’m afraid to believe, I’m afraid to hope any more.   

God, I know you love me. And it is Christmas. Couldn’t You just turn back time and take me to the place before all the pain, when I was still innocent and full of hope?   Let’s say 8 years old.  At 8, life was good and full of hope.  Couldn’t you make me 8  again?"  And with that, exhausted, I lay down and fell asleep. 

I woke up the next morning and… well… nothing. I didn’t feel any different.

“What did you expect?” the enemy taunted me.  “Seriously, this is real life, Stephanie, not It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

Dejected, I got up and headed to my parents’ house for the traditional Christmas family gift opening.    A pile of socks, sweaters, books, DVDs and gift certificates later we were done.  Or almost.

“You forgot one,” my mom said.


“That one” she said pointing under the tree, “the one from Santa.”

“Mom, I’m 30 years old.” 

“I know, I know, just open it,”

I picked up the present and read the tag.  It was signed “From Santa.  Sorry it took so long to get here.”

My heart started pounding.

“You’ll probably think it’s silly,” my mother said, oblivious to what was transpiring. “But I was reading the flyers one morning and I saw this was on for half price.  And the strangest thing happened.  I felt like God spoke to me and said, ‘You need to buy that for your daughter.’  And I thought, ‘That’s ridiculous. She’s a grown woman.’  And so I ignored it.  A few weeks later, dad and I were shopping and we happened to go by the toy section in the store – and there it was again. Only this time it wasn’t on sale.  And I felt God said again, only much more insistently this time, ‘You HAVE to buy that for your daughter.’  So, I bought it.  If only I would have listened the first time, think of the money I could have saved….”

She kept talking but I didn’t hear anything else she said.  Hands trembling, I ripped away the wrapping paper to reveal…. the coveted Easy Bake oven.  With tears welling up, my eyes wandered to the label in the top corner of the box: ages 8 and up.

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:13-15)

There is a power in childlike faith.  Do you remember when you first got born again or when you were young, how you were able to eagerly receive everything God said with faith and hope and trust?   But over time, disappointments and wounds rob that simple faith from us. How many times have you heard a new Christian or young person breathlessly share what the Lord has shown them?  And even if you smiled on the outside, inside you were thinking, “Yeah, it’s good to be full of faith now, but wait until you’ve hit the wall a few times.  Let’s see if you are still so zealous.”  That wariness or cynicism is a fruit of disappointment or hope deferred that has hardened a part of your heart in unbelief.

But God wants to restore our innocence. He wants to take us back, before the wounds and defilement of the enemy, to a time when our childlike hearts trusted without fear.    

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)

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)

In the movie The Passion of the Christ, there is a scene where Jesus is carrying the cross through the crowded streets after being beaten almost beyond recognition. Jesus' mother, Mary, is watching, devastated, when suddenly Jesus stumbles under the weight of the cross and falls to the ground.  As He does, she is taken back to a memory of Him falling down as a small child and her going to Him to comfort Him.  As the scene shifts, she is on her feet, in the present, running to Jesus. As she grabs hold of Him, Jesus looks at her through the blood and pain and says, "See Mother, I make all things new."

It is possible. If you are willing to stop protecting yourself, stop guarding these hardened places of unbelief within your heart.  If you will step back and allow the Lord to touch your heart of stone, He can make it into a heart of flesh again.    

You can believe again.  You can hope again. You can embrace the eternal destiny He has placed in your heart.  You can run, you can soar, you can be who you were always meant to be.  

If you would like the Lord to make your heart new again, then let’s pray this prayer together.  “Father, I believe that you are the God who makes all things new.  I give You access to all the places where disappointments and hurts have made my heart hard in unbelief and I ask you to make it a heart of flesh again.  Father, please restore to me the innocence that I once had so I can run unreservedly in faith and in rest with You.  In Jesus’ name Amen!” 

On behalf of the Awaken Team

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