A Hardened Heart
“He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Children are born with the knowledge of heaven on their hearts. We are born yearning for God. No matter where on earth a child is born, no matter the circumstances, children already know about God. This is innate, and it’s why children are considered “innocent”, and why they are so eager to learn about God and stories about him in the Bible.
But it is our environment, whether geography, culture, or family — those that influence us the most — that encourage us to reject or accept the truth we have already known. As we pass through childhood to adulthood (Jews refer to this as bah- or bar-mitzvah), we become cognizant of our sins — our transgressions against God.
It is during this time that our acceptance or rejection of the truth of God is reinforced. For the majority of mankind, it is a great disappointment to children who are yearning to know God more, who find that their parents aren’t willing to teach them about God, because their parents themselves have long-since rejected the truth.
And if God isn’t good enough for your parents, he’s not often good enough for you. Once your heart is hardened, you naturally seek out others who will reinforce this as the new truth. It becomes difficult to let go of that truth (in fact, you never really do), and so you find yourself spending the rest of your life seeking new ways of burying the truth with lies and actions.
As you try to suppress the truth with actions, you quickly block out God’s light with your own sin. To avoid the guilt of that sin, you look to the world to help you justify it. You seek out others who live in that same sin, and call it “normal.” The more people that you can find that engage in the same sin, the more justified it all becomes. Meanwhile, the truth you’ve tried to bury continues to build up pressure within your heart like a volcano.
And then a major event happens. A death of a loved-one, or a near-death experience of your own, or just serious life goings-on. Something big enough that shakes you at your foundation. This is something that God has either initiated or has simply allowed to happen so that he can get your attention, and remind you of that something you’ve tried to forget: that he’s still here.
But that event doesn’t always have the result he desires. Because if you’ve already made the decision that God’s not there, you will ironically push God away even further, and then harden your heart again.
So what can God do? Should he forget about you; leave you alone? Should he disown you and abandon you? No, he’s gonna keep trying. He is determined. He can’t make you choose, that’s the beauty of freewill. But he’s gonna keep trying to reach you. As long as there’s still life in you, your decision isn’t final. You can always choose God.
There are those that say “Jesus is for the weak.” And they’re absolutely right. I am not God. When I thought I was stronger than him and I acted like I was in charge, I failed at everything I did eventually. But since God is God, and I allow him to lead me as I stand at his right hand, how can I not succeed in everything?
So while God will allow us to be shaken to the core, to our foundation, we will always rebuild. The question is, what will we build on?