Sunday’s meditation from Henri Nouwen’s book was titled “The Seclusion of Our Heart.” The scripture passage in the meditation was from I Samuel 16:7 and pointed out that God doesn’t look at appearances but at the heart.
The heart, as generally used in the Bible, refers to the rational and emotional elements of man’s soul. The heart contains our true character. It reflects our true innermost self. That means God looks straight into our true self and knows who we really are.
If God looked into my heart, I wonder what he would find. I would hope that he would find a large part of my heart filled with love, joy, goodness, faith, knowledge, peace, kindness, and gentleness.
However, I know there are dark parts of my heart where He would find evil thoughts and other things I don’t want to admit. I would like to keep them secluded, but I know that God already knows about them.
Nouwen suggests that “Solitude is the furnace of transformation.” As I seek the face of God in quite solitude and prayer, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the dark parts of my heart that need to be transformed.
We are commanded in Roman 12:2 to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God wants to transform us into the image of His son. Unfortunately, I do not have a choice as to whether I want to hold on to my dark side or not. God wants to renew my heart.
As I face the dark side of my heart, like David, all I can do is say:
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Lord, show me the way to a clean heart!