Oh, you of little faith. Oh, you of little heart.
Jesus is calling us to cast out into the deep. But isn’t it easier to not? It is easier to stay on the shallow side. Yet we long for the depths, for the great things that can happen on the other end of the pool, the other end of the lake. Sometimes we just wish it wasn’t so deep.
“You desire greatness, but you keep your heart small.” The Lord told me this during my retreat and I had to admit that it was true. I was in one of my favorite Scripture passages–Jeremiah 18–and the Lord was the potter at the wheel, shaping and forming my heart. Over the next few days, I spent time considering the ways I keep my heart small. I’m sure my list was not exhaustive, but there were a few convicting realizations. The small heart is often maintained because of fear. Fear that expanding the heart will mean pain or disappointment. Jesus, though, is asking me to cast out into the deep. “Do not be afraid…” Ah, Jesus, but I am.
In conversation this past week, I came to a renewed realization of the necessity of seeking healing for the sake of myself and for others. My small heart, if it expanded, could be a catalyst for others to let their hearts grow. If I allow my heart’s state to be dictated by how others respond, then why couldn’t I flip that around? Why can’t my choice to be large-hearted move others to embrace the same? Even if it doesn’t, my internal freedom will be transforming my own heart.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)
He calls us to cast out into the deep. Not content to simply tell us, He models the pathway for us. He casts His net into the depths of our hearts, the places we hoped were sufficiently covered, the areas we ourselves had almost forgotten. And He shines His light there, His mercy a mantle covering it all. Then He turns the net over to us and asks us to do the same. Cast deep into my heart, He says. Go deeper, plunge further in. In the safety of such a vast heart, we are then able to let Him plumb the depths of our own. We will want Him to bring all to light and we won’t resist when He pushes the edges of our heart, widening the chambers to be filled with more of Him.
There is a greatness of heart that awaits us if we relinquish our clasp on our small hearts. Give the Potter free reign over the size of your heart and follow His lead in casting into the deep. Who knows what you will catch?