That discomfort you feel—that wrestling, that tangle of emotion, that unsettledness—is okay. It is actually good. I help you notice things you wouldn’t otherwise see: injustice, loneliness. I awaken you to love and the act of giving of yourself.
Notice how I make you restless. Notice about what I have made you curious. Notice where I bring opportunities for your mind to hunger for information that is unique to you.
I have made you to notice—unlike anyone else.
I have made you to love—unlike anyone else.
So I want to ask you—what will you do with that discomfort? How will you respond to the situations, the people, I have given you to see and feel?
Ignore them? Turn the other way? Get distracted? Busy? Consumed with proving yourself, your pride, your work? Or will you try to figure out how I am using these situations to grow you toward trusting me? Following me? Loving with my heart, my hands, my face?
Worry less about how to respond. First, recognise the times when you are reluctant to respond at all. Ask me what is making you want to ignore that problem, that need, that person. Ask me for courage. Ask me to help you surrender. Ask me to replace your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I can do it. I can do these things. Ask me.
And believe that I respond . . . to you.
And then listen for what I say. And watch for what I do. I move within you, guiding you toward the action of an open hand, not a closed fist. Go where I lead you now. What you see, what you notice—the cry out of your friend, the silent despair of your neighbor, the hidden pain of the stranger whose eyes lock with yours. What are you going to do? Remember how you are not alone. Remember to ask me what I see, what I hear, what I feel. Trust my heart, and then eventually see that your own heart, the one I give you, is what you can trust; but only after it is surrendered to me.
Notice. Stay open. Respond. Watch what, together, I have made you to do.
We live in a world that’s broken. Desperate need is everywhere. We hear people—lots of people—tell us every day how much they need. Our time, our help, our resources. And many of these claims are 100% our responsibility to act upon, like the claims of people to whom we are personally obligated—our family members, our friends, and certain people in our communities.
But there are needs out there too, beyond those people we know personally. We’re exposed to so much need, all over the world, every time we open social media apps and scroll through our news feeds, or open up our newspapers and scan stories of deceit and exploitation, fires and floods, illness and hunger; murder and rape; homelessness and dislocation and war.
And make no mistake, the needs are real—and they’re desperate. Tragedies. Injustice. Suffering. Things seem to be getting worse; problems are chronic; and solutions are elusive.
It’s tempting to check out and become numb to it all. We could think to ourselves: “It’s too much! Where would I even start?” And it’s tempting to give into hopelessness. We can go to: “Nothing is ever going to change. This is just how the world is.”
But that’s not how God designed us. He made us to engage, not to ignore or give up. He made us to step right into the chaos and to love—with the Holy Spirit in us and Jesus leading the way.
So, how can we do our parts in restoring this world, without our hearts being overwhelmed?
That is a question for our King. So, let’s spend a few moments now asking Jesus some questions—questions about us and about how and whom he’s made us to love.
And let’s listen too.
So, Jesus, show me my heart. Show me how it’s meant to be soft. Show me how it’s meant to be open and trusting of you? Tell me how you’ve removed my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh—soft and sensitive to your Spirit moving in me.
Jesus, show me who you want me to love . . . show me the particular needs you’ve made my heart to break for.
Finally, Jesus, what do you want me to do? How have you made me to help and to love—uniquely, personally?
You are equipped to love. You are made to love . . . to move in love . . . unlike anyone else.
So, take a step. Do something today that requires you to trust in your new heart.
Jesus, give me courage. Awaken in me a desire to love. I love you. I trust you. Amen.