In faith I sometimes like to say, “God sneaks in under the radar.” Now of course God doesn’t “have to” sneak anywhere, but it can feel just like that sometimes. He has a way of slipping in under our big brains, bypassing all that pride and arrogance and intellect, and sneaking right into our hearts. Bypassing our defenses and catching us completely unaware.
Some of us guard our hearts, not to be confused with hardening our hearts. I actually struggle with that, my heart can grow very hard, bitter, cynical, walled off like a fortress. The world does that, the world hardens our hearts. The behavior of people, others with hard hearts, can really take its toll on us. We will put up defenses after a while, we will learn to guard our hearts.
The problem is that too much of a guarded heart will begin to atrophy and harden. We must actually exercise our hearts and use them. Use it or lose it. The problem being, like many forms of exercise it can be rather painful. To willingly experience discomfort, to walk head first into pain, is counter intuitive to say the least. I envy those who have an affection for exercise, who actually enjoy it. I have yet to solve that particular riddle, but I have learned how to take my heart for a walk and allow God to soften it.
Our hearts are a powerful part of faith. One might even say they are absolutely critical, as critical as our literal hearts are to our bodies. The condition of our heart is everything. “Let not your heart be troubled.” Let it also not harden, atrophy, or shut down.
Often I think the real battle within spiritual warfare is about not letting the world make you hard, in discovering how to keep your heart as soft as it was when we were children. Faith can require a very child like attitude, of being open to possibilities with a sense of wonder. As we walk in the world, our experiences, biases, ability to reason, can lead us away from that state of being.
Faith is not irrational, it is not devoid of all reason, but it sure can feel like that sometimes. Faith has an actual substance and evidence to it, but to take a leap of faith often requires us to suspend our well-reasoned and quite rational disbelief. It does not always appear logical to preserve a soft heart in a broken world.
Sometimes, when life gets hard, one of the best things we can do is to shut off our brain for a moment, and just allow God to sneak in under the radar, to receive Him and allow Him to fill our hearts. I sometimes call this closing your eyes and feeling the music.