2009-08-13 - Tender Hearts
Originally Published 1999-11-18
2 Chron 34:26-27 "Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God, when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes, and wept before Me, I truly have heard you," declares the LORD. (NAS)
A story shared with me by a friend gave me an insight into a tender heart. She had received a rather scathing letter from someone. The writer had taken offense at either her actions or her words and had decided to make sure she knew about it. She went to a mutual friend and shared the letter with him, asking for advice. It was clear that the author of the letter had grossly misunderstood my friend's intent and the advice given was to simply let it drop. Since the person had felt as strongly as he apparently did, it would be difficult to convince him that he had misjudged her so very badly. The friend who had received the letter agreed, with some reservation. No one likes to be so badly cast when their actions were mistaken. She shared that the letter had 'actually made me cry'. Some might think that reaction immature or silly. But our mutual friend assured her that it was simply the sign of a tender heart, and that she would never want to lose that.
The inhabitants of Judah had angered the Lord until His cup was full. They had turned their backs on God and burned incense at the altars of false Gods with the intent of snubbing the God of their fathers. The Lord declares that His wrath will fall upon the land. But he makes this promise to the King of Judah. Because the King's heart was tender toward the Lord, God's wrath would be stayed until after the King of Judah had passed from this life. He had literally bought time for Judah with his heart toward God. That a single life lived before God could have such an impact is remarkable.
When a heart is sensitive to God, the still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12) is more readily heard. The proud heart is too filled with it's own noise. God seldom speaks in that booming, sepulchral voice that we so easily picture. He is capable of it - but wants us to be quiet and listen. Frightened children tend to be very quiet. But they are often listening for signs of danger. When they hear the voice of their Mom or Dad speaking to them, they become calm and listen for more reassuring words. Their focus shifts from the perceived danger to the comfort and safety their parents provide for them. As adults, we can allow the business of life, and the din that goes with it, to crowd out that quiet voice. I often find out that God was either simply trying to slow me down, or He had something to impress upon me when I am home sick. It would be so much easier if I would simply stop on my own, and listen - keeping my heart tender toward Him.
Lord Jesus - help us to understand that a tender heart is not a weak heart. It is better to know our limits and come to You for Your limitless resources. Quiet time with You is time well spent, be it in the car, walking from one place to another or sitting alone in our rooms. If we will listen, we will hear the comfort spoken to our hearts and minds - the whispers of caring and peace that only You can provide. Amen.