Have you heard the song, “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” by Paul Baloche? Great song, but maybe strange if you aren’t familiar with spiritual terminology. Hearts don’t have eyes, I recall thinking years ago.
Hearts here are actually just the non-physical part of each of us that can choose to see or not see God. Though it grieves Him, God will not force us to see, listen or obey. A hardened heart is actually worse than a sick physical heart. A sick physical heart can lead to death, but a hardened spiritual heart leads to eternal separation from God. We need to be able to understand, accept and follow what God teaches us.
I don’t mean to seem judgmental, but the disciples had seen, firsthand, Jesus do so many amazing miracles. Yet, when they see Jesus walking on water, it’s just as surprising to them as any random person. They were confused and did not understand how Jesus was doing this or how He fed 5,000 people just that day with five loaves and two fishes. Their hearts were hard.
There are times God is the one hardening a person’s heart, too. When this is the case, there’s not much we can do (Exodus 4:21, Rom. 9:1). God can do whatever He pleases, Romans reminds us – have mercy or harden hearts. But. a few other verses I see involve people choosing to harden their hearts (Zechariah 7:12, Psalms 95:8). The people miss out on what God has for them and God is angry. His anger is always right, justified and expressed without sin. But even a toddler could tell you, making God angry is a bad idea.
We need to pray for a softened, responsive heart every day. The disciples were capable of having hard hearts even though they were chosen by Jesus and saw Him do miracles first-hand. We, too, can very likely have the same hard hearts regardless of how “spiritual” or “non-spiritual” we are. Protect my heart, Lord. Please step in when You notice it beginning to harden, whether it’s purposeful or simply the result of indifference and pride. Keep my heart soft and able to see, hear and obey you completely.