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The Longest 18 Inches

I know, I know. 18 inches is 18 inches. But the 18 inches between the head and the heart… that feels like the longest 18 inches ever.

I wish I could speed up the movement of biblical truth from my head to my heart, from my mind to my experience. But I cannot.

Thankfully, the Lord knows what He is doing. And, unlike me, He is not in a rush. He seems to know exactly how to tee up circumstances that reveal my inability to transform my own heart. Thus, He forces me in the most fatherly way to trust in His shaping hands as they sanctify me and those I love the most.

He will not settle for an enlarged mind with a shrunken or misshapen heart.

We live in San Diego where citrus trees are nearly as common as dandelions. Every day as I walk through our neighborhood,  I am reminded that a healthy citrus harvest requires some parts sun and some parts shade. Otherwise, the fruits are overripe on one side and underripe on the other.

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He will not have a half-ripe heart. Thus, as the gentle gardener, He contorts His fruit friends, like me. He twists me and hides my healthy parts in the shade, exposing my ugly or underdeveloped sides to the blinding light. He does this neither to hurt me nor to harass me. He does this that, one day, He might present me as a heart fully-ripened to His Father as part of the harvest of righteousness He has both secured and sanctified.

He masters that 18 inches and everything else in between.

No Half-Ripe Heart

You’ll not have a half-ripe heart.
For You take pride in your plot.
But this ripening process –
Oh, how it does smart.

Your hand squeezes me tightly,
Hiding the light from my face.
You twist and contort me oddly-
It seems the opposite of grace. 

You poke and prod my skin,
Finding the un-tender side.
You expose my blemishes-
The best parts seem to hide.

It feels unnatural and strange,
As shaded spots see the sun.
Supposedly, this is your care-
But the process is not fun.

Yet, good and gentle gardener,
I submit myself to your hand.
You wisely tend your orchard
For goodness You have planned. 

 

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