God’s love meets stony, unbreakable, impenetrable hearts today and replaces them. It meets rebellious, wounded, bleeding hearts and remakes them. It takes motionless hearts and makes them pulse with heavenly life.
We all walk through this fallen world on streets of shattered promises. Believer or unbeliever, wealthy or poor, young or old, few, if any, remain exempt. For some, a father vowed much but was present little. For others, a trusted friend finally retreated from you in the hour of need. For still others, an unfaithful wife deserted, leaving the serrated memory of her empty vow, “’til death do us part.” We know what it is to expose our hearts and feel them bleed.
If our enemies dealt roughly with us, we could bear it (Psalm 55:12). But when the culprit is our familiar friend, the knife goes deeper. In response, some choose to mummify their hearts rather than risk further injury. They know exactly what C.S. Lewis meant when he wrote,
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. (The Four Loves, 155–56)
You may have loved and lost and vowed never to love again. You keep outside of rifle range — both of love and of anguish. You will not, cannot, go through that again.
Hearts of Stone
And you have changed. Scales have grown. You forget the sound of your own laugh. You’ve set your affections on small things and sealed your heart in the motionless, airless, safe, dark coffin until only a stone remains. A victim to great loves now dead, what can be said to convince you to live again?
What can be said is that there exists a love so momentous, so steadfast, so piercing that it threatens — even now — to flood your lungs with air, shine light into your hiding place, and invade that selfish vault with a warmth long forgotten: hope. This love threatens to break through the deadbolt to overwhelm with life and to replace the stony heart with a beating one — as it has done for so many before. It threatens to enthrone itself — himself — to capture our being entirely and send us out to live (and be hurt) again with newfound delight.
This love does not dismiss but rather overcomes the real pain we feel, the real scars we bear, the real sins we’ve endured — as well as the real sins we have committed. We needed a Savior, a Redeemer, a Husband to save us and covenant himself to never forsake us because of our sin against him.
And hope against hope, he came. In a world of human loves that fall short, it was written of a man fully God: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.