A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Today I remember to open my heart to God.
I have been reflecting today on returning to God with my whole heart, and as I was studying Isaiah I encountered this passage from Ezekiel. Ezekiel and his followers dreamed dreams of a new heart replacing the heart of stone that had led the people away from God and of dry bones being filled with the spirit of life. Ezekiel was one of those deported during the Babylonian exile, and after the fall of Jerusalem his message was one of restorative hope for the people held in captivity. The people that Ezekiel addressed were people who had hardened their hearts to God and who were listening to false prophets and practicing idolatry. But the exile shook the foundations of the Jewish faith to the core; and it became a time of profound spiritual searching on the part of the Jewish community. To quote Dickens, “it was the worst of times and it was the best of times” because out of the ruins arose an invitation to a spiritual quest, and as Judah sought to claim God’s mercy in the calamity, they began to seriously reflect on their faith which led them to see the world with new eyes. Sometimes our hearts turn to stone without our even realizing it. And inevitably something will happen to shake us all the way to the core of our hardened hearts and cause us to turn to God in bewilderment, wondering what happened. It is during these times that we always gain new insights, new self-awareness, and new levels of closeness to God because during these times we open ourselves and our hearts to virtually anything that will help us to find our way back into the light. But what if we were to live all our days with wide-open hearts? Would we never experience any kind of pain and suffering? And how would we gain new insights if there were no ruins to rise up out of? I have never been able to pull that off, so I cannot answer the questions it brings up. But it is with gratitude that I embrace these little prophetic reminders along the way so that when I am jarred to my foundations I know that it is time for another spiritual quest.