Did you know our hearts can harden? Even though we’ve seen God work in our lives in the past, why do we sometimes question his doing so today?

And Jesus, aware of this [their conversation], said to them [his disciples], “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?Mark 8:17-18

Jesus and the disciples are on a boat. The disciples are concerned because they only brought one loaf of bread. They’re worried about what they will eat. This after seeing Jesus feed thousands of people with just five loaves of bread and a few small fish! (See Mark 8:19) After witnessing Jesus perform this miracle as well as others, they still were concerned about their own provisions.

Reading this passage – my first thought was (and I bet some of you thought it too) – how can the disciples be so foolish?! Didn’t they just see the miracles performed by Jesus? PLUS, Jesus was with them.  (I think indignantly) Certainly they knew he wouldn’t let them starve! Then it hit me – I do the same thing! Don’t you? I know Jesus performs miracles and I even know he has done great things in my life. Yet, I struggle with everyday life.

It’s not that I think God CAN’T perform miracles – I just either don’t feel like He WILL provide what I think I need or I blame myself. If something doesn’t go right, I figure I missed something or I should have been more prepared. Yet, in this passage, Jesus doesn’t bring up the lack of preparation on their part (yet he does in other passages – which I admit adds to my confusion at times). Instead, Jesus questions why they still don’t see or understand. I question that sometimes too about myself. How can I see God at work in my life and others – and yet still struggle with believing God will provide? Do you struggle with the same issue? Are you quick to judge the people in the Bible (or better yet, those around you) when they do something or don’t do something … yet, then realize you do the same thing?

My Prayer:

Lord – I don’t know how others feel, but it scares me when I don’t understand or see what is happening around me. Have our hearts hardened or become insensitive or unable to see you at work? If yes, please soften our hearts. I know for me, there are so many times when I feel like it is calloused. I tend to go back to the passage where you hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 9:10). That verse troubles me. Why would you harden someone’s heart? In my finite mind, it just doesn’t seem fair. Yet, I know you are all-knowing, all good and all just – even when we can’t see it. Do you harden our hearts after so long of being indifferent to others? Do you just sometimes eventually let us go our own way?

Dear Lord, please shine your light on our hearts – on our lives. We don’t want to have hardened hearts. Give us understanding where we have none. Help us to discern Your Word in our lives. Show us where we are sinning, if we are sinning. Show us the steps we need to take to get rid of barriers in our lives that are keeping us from having a closer relationship with you.

Thank you for listening – always being here – even when we are seemingly far away. Open our eyes Lord. Open our ears. We want to see, hear AND understand. We pray all this in Your Son – Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.