Thursday, September 25, 2014

The War for My Heart: An eternal love story

War was far from my mind as I walked through a trail near my home on a beautiful, fall day.  I breathed in the crisp, mountain air and smiled at flickering yellow aspen leaves looking so busy behind the steady, orange and red maples. “Much like my thoughts today,” I mused. It had been a frantic morning as I tried to prepare for this hike, and even so, I had left many things undone that I had meant to get to.
“Don’t forget to look for a pebble that represents you in some way,” I called to the group of youth trailing along behind me. As we reached the still, quiet pond that was our destination, we found a place to share and discuss the insights we had gained from our readings that week. At the end of our time, I invited them to find a quiet spot to think. I asked them to throw their pebble in the pond, watch the ripples, and quietly reflect on what sort of ripples they were sending to the world.
They went to their quiet spots and I found a relatively flat rock where I could try to ponder. I had my baby along and I wondered if I could think of anything worthwhile as she squirmed and grabbed my pen while I tried to write. Suddenly, a powerful thought flashed into my mind and I began to write:

"You may not see it, but there is war raging around you, even in this peaceful place.  Your heart is the price.  Unseen forces want to dwell there. You get to decide who wins the victory.  Your choices invite one of the two sides in."

As I watched these youth throw their pebbles in the pond, I understood why a heart is the ultimate price of victory for these veiled powers. If they can penetrate one heart - their influencing ripples will extend far beyond what we can see.  In the heart lies power. It is where ripples are made.
I looked back to when I had rippled frustration, annoyance, and selfishness that day.  I knew I had admitted the opposing force into my heart.  I reflected that because Christ died for me, I have the choice to let Him clean my heart from any evil at any moment.  And He would fill it with God’s love.  Gratitude filled my soul as I understood that because of Him, I get to choose who wins each battle for my heart.

The youth and I shared our parting thoughts with one another and began walking back along the trail. As we hiked down, the aspen leaves looked full of joy and life. I looked at the changing leaves, the deep blue sky, the sunny flowers. I felt God’s love for me speaking through their bloom.

I considered His love for each of us.  How I wanted His love to win.  I felt a great desire to let it reside so much in my heart that it can build fortresses, barricades, watchtowers and strongholds. I wished to ripple His love into as many hearts within my influence as I could touch.  They may even let it in.  And then it could ripple…