Guard your heart

Rob here. I left New Zealand on the morning of February 22 excited and ready for my big adventure to Hawaii (see earlier post, Desire and God’s voice). I haven’t travelled that much and this was my first visit to the U.S of A. I soon had the stuffing knocked out of me when I arrived though. A lady approached me and asked if I’d just come in from New Zealand. Yes, I said, wondering what this was about. She then proceeded to tell me about the Christchurch earthquake (see here for more information). I was gobsmacked. My heart sank.

This was a crucial moment. I was in Hawaii because I believed God had invited me there to be at the Wild at Heart boot camp and to simply be with him. Now a huge part of me wanted to race home, be with my church, my fellow New Zealanders just to grieve with them. I was feeling very alone. What do I do? Dismiss the invitation as not of God after all? Tell myself I listened badly and it was just selfishness that took me to Hawaii? What I did with my heart here was really important. I could have made an agreement that I wasn’t meant to come, that I was selfish and so on; and what experience would I have had then?? A lousy one.

So I prayed. First I mourned with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). I let myself feel the sadness, let the tears come and I prayed for God’s comfort to be with those who were suffering. Then, crucially, I affirmed with God his invitation to be there and trusted him to look after my feelings of grief and loneliness. I affirmed my place in him and committed myself to letting him lead me through the whole trip.

He answered my prayers. I had some wonderful experiences; God ministered to me deeply at the boot camp; I met some awesome people but I still grieved for Christchurch and God helped me to keep giving that tragedy to him.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” By guarding my heart (making no agreements with lies and deceit) I was able to hold grief and joy together; I was able to pray for others and receive growth for myself; I was able to be there for others despite my own feelings of sadness. Most of all, I was able to draw near to God and let him guide my steps.

Your heart is precious to God; guard it well.

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