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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hard Heart

Our Sunday school class discussion today pretty much preached the sermon that we heard afterward.
We've been looking at the most difficult book in the Bible: Romans 9. Election and free will. Sovereignty and personal responsibility. God's purposes, his holiness, his inconceivable mercy. It's rich, difficult stuff.

Today a lot of the discussion and preaching was about hardened hearts, being dead in sin and helpless, whether we harden our hearts or God hardens them. Whether we cry out to him from our position as the dead, or he lifts us out and resuscitates. Whether passing over a rebel is the same thing as causing that person to rebel in the first place. Whether one can really blame God for giving a rebel the desire of his heart--to resist his creator--while choosing out of mercy to give another rebel something BETTER than the desire of his hard heart, changing that desire to something outside himself.

It all reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago about my own conversion experience. Yes, I understand the hard heart. I understand what it is to WANT to be on a team other than the one God's leading. I understand also what it is to have my hard heart softened by something outside myself. It hurts and it's dangerous--having a softened heart. I'm pretty sure, yeah, I'm sure, I wouldn't have chosen it myself. It was given to me. And yet, I'm still thankful. Oh, so thankful.

I wasn't reading Romans when I wrote this poem. I was drawing from the Old Testment book of Ezekiel.
But scripture supports and interprets scripture, so it should come as no surprise that the two have some overlap in content and result.

Ezekiel Sonnet
Rebecca Cochrane

I build me up with purpose to defend
Against what stone my foot may fall upon
Or that which, hurled, may mark beyond the mend
My feeble self can manage on its own,

While in my midst itself is formed a stone
Where should be beating flesh and blood and bone.
My adamantine heart is ossified,
And I stand safe and strong within my pride—

Until the wind of word by breath finds chinks
And still small voice dissolves the citadel.
Exposed, unnerved, the rampart built so well—
Tumbled rubble, crusted ore—unlinks
And leaves me soft where once was bastion.
Pitted, peeled, I am inside out and all my armor gone.

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