The Heart of Stone (Joy Cowley)
There are times when I've cried out,
"God, give me back my heart of stone
and a ladder so that I can climb
up to my head and live there
with doors and windows shut on feeling.
God, God, I'm tired of all the hurt.
For a little while, let me live
a second-hand life. Let me tread
the safe path of other people's ideas.
Just let me drop this awesome responsibility
you have given me, to grow
through love and pain."
Then I remember what it's like
to exist with a heart of stone.
How cold and dead I felt inside
and how divided the world was
when viewed without love in my heart.
Remembering, I pour myself before God
and whisper into His waiting,
"My God, there is no going back.
It has to be a soft heart,
one that is always vulnerable
to the love and wounding
which is life,
which is growth,
which is You."
Keep within me, my God,
the heart of flesh.
It is never easy to allow ourselves to feel deeply. There will be the gift of great joy but also the reality of feeling great sorrow. Yet, this is the heart of compassion that our God models for us. All through Scripture, I can 'hear' God calling back the prodigals, the stubborn and stiff necked, expressing his feelings of anger and frustration with the people He deeply loves. How much easier to put an end to it all and re-create the world. He decides to continue working with this world, however much we have let Him down.
It is only when we have personally experienced God's merciful love and compassion that we have the courage to ask for a heart of flesh. I would admit this is not an easy choice but one that will bring the abundant life to ourselves and to others.