Stepping into the toasty kitchen with a laundry basket piled high with warm towels, I smile at my two sons standing side by side on the back porch patio. My youngest son wraps both his arms around his big brother’s legs staring up into his eyes. On tiptoes he stretches to be as tall as his strong older brother.
His shrill voice demands, “I want to tell you something important.” His big brother pauses to gaze down, then bends to allow his little brother to whisper in his ear. Both boys grin as they share a delightful moment of laughter.
In the same way, I imagine myself wrapping my arms around Jesus’ waist. I stare up into his eyes. Although my thoughts are small, He bends down to listen to my whispered prayers of appreciation, and smiles.
Jesus, you know my heart and mind (Jeremiah 20:12). Your mighty and powerful arm created the earth, its people, and all the animals (Jeremiah 27:5). You appointed the sun to shine by day and the stars to shine by night. Your strength protects during my distress (Jeremiah 16:19).
Your trustworthy confidence tenderly plants me like a tree by the spring of living water. (Jeremiah 17:7). Daily my roots sprout towards the stream. There is no need to fear when long days of blistering sun scorches the withered bushes. My roots absorb the nourishing water, fruit appears among my bright green leaves. You create new life and strength. No need to worry about famine.
If I am captured, my mighty warrior will rescue me (Jeremiah 17:14, 20:11). He builds me up and won’t allow disaster, shame, or terror to cut me down (Jeremiah 17:17). Any injury will be healed.
Lord, your word ignites in my heart like fire. I cannot hold it inside any longer (Jeremiah 20:9).
The more time we spend thinking of God’s attributes, the larger our hearts swell with gratitude. God’s truth, honor, and faithful love endures through every circumstance. His noble actions are always best for our souls. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). The Lord forgives and remembers no more (Jeremiah 31:34).
The Lord grieves over any disaster inflicted on us, and reminds us to not be afraid. He shows us compassion and restores us (Jeremiah 42:10).
Just today, I found a blog on HuffPost listing 10 reasons to follow your own heart. According to Dr. Nikki Martinez, “when you follow your heart, you cease having regrets.” I disagree with the above statement.
When you obey God, you cease having regrets.
In the book of Jeremiah the people follow their own hearts. God warns the people to turn back to him but they refuse. He sends Jeremiah, a prophet, to prepare them that Babylon will attack and take everyone captive. The Lord spoke to Jeremiah to advise the people to surrender so they will live.
However the people did not believe Jeremiah. Instead they treated him like a traitor. He was arrested, beaten, and placed in a stockade.
Although Jeremiah explicitly warned the King to surrender, so that he would live. The King escaped from the palace gate between the two walls in the King’s garden. His short escape ended with a trap in the desert.
As a result of refusing to surrender, the Babylonian army killed his two sons. Chains enslaved his people in their exile to Babylon.
Although the people disobeyed God , the Lord traveled with the captives to Babylon. The Lord reminded them he had good plans for them to prosper even in a foreign land. His promises to rescue and save them encouraged them. The prisoners remembered that nothing is too hard for the one true God.
Our bad habits like complaining, shouting hurtful words, and choosing poor decisions, often keep us from appreciating God’s goodness. Sometimes we are frustrated when things don’t go our way. When our feelings are hurt, we cry and ask why has this happened? Disappointments of unmet expectations weigh heavy on our souls and we question God.
The more time we spend blaming God for our emotional or physical injuries, the more time we are feeding our own bitterness. When I wrestle wondering how a good God allows bad things to happen, I am allowing my heart to devalue God.
While I acknowledge his mighty and powerful presence, I imply horrible events are too hard for God to restore.
Only God can turn a horrible event into a celebration of how our hearts turned back to our Savior.
As a mother, I understand my sons have to learn from their own mistakes. Parenthood has taught me that my sons learn as they experience consequences of sin. Children don’t always obey and often think they are “bad.” However only disobedient behavior was “bad.” According to Children’s Evangelism Fellowship, anything someone thinks, says, or does that break one of God’s laws is a sin.
When anyone sins there are logical consequences that happen. Even when I forgave my sons, the consequences remain. For instance when one son bit their brother over a destroyed tower, there were physical teeth-marks on his brother’s skin. Although my two sons suffer from guilt and pain of their own sin, it doesn’t change my love for them. I have forgiven them completely.
When they turn away from sin, and make good decisions, I smile.
However there have been times when I have followed my own heart instead of obeying the Lord. And like the captives, I wonder why has this disaster happened?
Jeremiah 16:10 states the answer is when our fathers follow, serve, and worship other things instead of the Lord. When they fail to keep the Lord’s Law, but instead follow their own heart.
I know horrible consequences happen when I follow, serve, and worship anything besides the Lord. Instead I need to obey the Lord and surrender my whole heart to Him.