Links Daily Devotional

Go for It!

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1, NIV 1984)

Our hearts are delicate instruments. They can break at the slightest things. On the golf course, after getting “burned” a few times going for a par-5 in two, we can start settling for the lay-up, thinking we can protect ourselves from future pain with a new strategy… Then comes the chunked wedge shot, and it hurts all over again. This cycle of avoidance can continue and culminate to the point where we are just trying not to make mistakes, trying to protect our hearts. The result is a dry well of shots, and an overarching fear of punishment. The opposite effect is thus produced, sapping all life, imagination and joy out of the game and the heart.

Life is also a minefield for the heart. If you haven’t been disappointed or hurt yet, you will be. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Circumstances and outcomes bring pain. So what are we to do? Shut down? Or open up? And how?

If we shut down, hardening of the heart is unavoidable. C.S. Lewis spoke of this eloquently: “If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to 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.”

Now we know that we should open up our heart, lest we become people more dead than alive. But the question of how to open up remains.

If we open our heart to anything other than God, we set out knowing our hearts will be broken. God, in his perfect love and guidance through his Word, warns us of attachments to idols (which can be defined as created things that have an ultimate position in our affections). One of the idols in my life where I suffered heartbreak was in 2005, when I was ill with Graves’ disease and my performance on the LPGA Tour was plummeting. It is not a horrible tragedy by all means, but my heart was so deceptively engaged with my profession that it felt like God had abandoned me—almost the very definition of idolatry!

God tells us instead what we should do with our heart in Mark 12:30-31, commanding us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbor as yourself.”

God calls us to love him fully and to love others… If our hearts are so plagued with wounds, fear, distrust, and hardening, how can we learn to love? How can we recognize what true love is? Let us fear not, for where God calls, he himself instructs and empowers. God personally went on ahead to show us the way. He first opened his heart through creating us to share in his perfect love. Then, even though we sin against him, he opened his heart again and sent his only Son to die for us. It hurt him so deeply. Jesus asked God to let the cup of wrath pass from him; he cried out to his Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” Jesus bore the entirety of all our sins, and he endured this for you and me. This is true love!

This amazing sacrifice should move us. If we only take the leap of faith and let our heart be broken by this act of sheer grace and pure love, then it can be healed and created anew. This is how we open up: by letting grace first break our hearts so that grace can start its powerful work within us. Once a heart lives in Christ and Christ in it, then infinite stores of peace, joy and love constantly supply the heart as it travels the perilous road of life, leaving it growing and flourishing beautifully.

Jesus tells us in today’s passage to not let our hearts be troubled, to trust in God and in him. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). You can trust Jesus with your heart today. This is a par-5 he promises you can reach in two, no matter the sins that lay between you and God. So go ahead, go for it!

Isabelle Beisiegel

February 19, 2013

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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at