In western North America this past summer, wildfires devastated nearly four million acres of forests, burned 8,200 structures, and killed 31 people. One day, our weather forecasters warned that high winds were likely to exacerbate these fires because of the already very hot, tinder-dry conditions. As predicted, unusually high winds gusted throughout the night. But greater fire danger was not the only result.
The next morning, I went out for a neighbourhood walk and was not surprised to see broken branches and twigs littering sidewalks here and there along the way. One badly damaged tree particularly caught my attention. As I got closer, I saw that the tree had nearly split in two, exposing the heart of the tree. While the remaining trunk and branches looked strong and sturdy on the outside, a rotten, pithy core was now clearly visible. While a strong, healthy tree could have withstood the buffeting of the strong winds, this tree with its rotten heart could not stand undamaged.
The storms of life can reveal not only what kind of foundation we have chosen to build our lives on, but also what is at the centre of our lives. We may appear to be strong and confident on the outside, but when winds of disaster swirl around us, our support begins to crumble, and our true inner core is revealed.
Jeremiah 17:9 – The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (NLT)
Our heavenly Father knows our heart condition, and if we allow Him, He will replace our sinful heart with a heart that is pleasing to Him.
Ezekiel 36:26 – And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (NLT)
First, He will cleanse our hearts when we come to Him in faith, believing that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin through His death and resurrection. Then, this newly tenderized heart will result in a totally new way of living as we seek to obey and honour Him in all of our ways.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, You have offered to give each of us a new heart when we come to You in faith. Please draw us close to You and move us to yield our hearts to You in complete surrender. May our God-pleasing words and actions reveal to everyone around us the result of our new hearts. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "A Shelter In The Time Of Storm" (Lyrics)