“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” (Proverbs 27:19)

No Valentine’s Day is complete without a good love story. In his book When God Winks Through Love, SQuire Rushnell tells the story of Norma and Gordon Yeager who, having been married on her graduation day, were deeply in love for seventy-two years. The Iowa couple were inseparable until one fateful day when they were in an accident and rushed to the hospital, clinging to life. When the family arrived at the hospital, they noticed that the staff had placed their beds side-by-side and that they were holding hands. At 3:38 p.m., Gordon passed away. But the son looked at his father’s heart monitor and noticed it was still beating, questioning how this could be. The nurse simply said, “Oh they are still holding hands – her heart is beating through his” (the same way it did for seventy-two years). Exactly one hour later at 4:48 p.m., Norma passed away going on to meet Gordon at the gates of Heaven.

In February, the symbol of the heart is as common as a box of chocolates or a picture of one pierced by Cupid’s arrow. It represents expressions of love and affection with emblematic references as far back as the Middle Ages. In more recent times, one of the most widely distributed and well-known logos, I ♥ NY, was first used in 1977 to promote the American city and the state. In Biblical references, the heart was thought to be the central organ that controlled all activities and determined one’s character. Because we are created by God, it was assumed by those who knew Him that He fully understood who we were by looking at our heart. This led the psalmist to ask the question: “would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21)?  Today, there are often commonly understood heart references used to characterize people. These include terms like “half-hearted”, “heart of gold” or declarations such as, “His heart was in the right place.”

There is no better account of God’s understanding of one’s heart than in His calling of David. The Lord said to his father, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). After his sins of murder and adultery, King David needed a new heart. He knew the only way to find it was to pray these words, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). David clarified that only God could restore his spiritual well-being. Later in Jesus day, the teachers of the law once criticized the disciples for not following the hand-washing tradition of the elders. Jesus called them hypocrites and quoted Isaiah by saying, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6).

Now more than ever, our hearts allow us to insensitively retreat from God. Striving for success and recognition, open immorality, and downright selfishness are but a few impediments to becoming closer to Him. We are challenged by these words from Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Despite his sinful actions – David knew that if your motives are pure, you will be moving in the direction of God’s will for your life. We can develop a heart acceptable to God when we allow ourselves to be humbled, confess our sins, perform acts of service, and trust in Him. Perhaps the lyricist, Cleland B. McAfee, caught this vision when he wrote these words:

“There is a place of comfort sweet, near to the heart of God;a place where we our Savior meet, near to the heart of God.  O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God,
hold us who wait before thee near to the heart of God.”

He who made us knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees those conflicts within us that no one else notices. Only He searches the thoughts and intents of our heart. Even so, He continues to love us just the same. Now that’s impressive, because that is true love – near to the very heart of God!

REFLECTION: Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). What are those impure things that pull your heart away from Jesus? How might you consider revising your daily routine and breaking old habits in order to draw closer to His will for your life?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.