“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God because they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7 (CSB)
You know those days when everything seems to be going pretty well? The house isn’t too much of a mess. There’s food in the fridge, and the kids have managed to get along with each other and spare you any bad attitudes.
It seems so easy to walk like Christ on those days, showing love and being slow to anger. It’s in those moments, when almost everything feels right in my world, that I can peacefully and confidently say, “God is good.”
While He’s good no matter what, most days just aren’t that smooth. It’s rare I get a day where at least one or two (or 10) things don’t test my patience and my faith. Sometimes it’s enough to make me put off joy and postpone worship. But those “I don’t feel like it” moments, fueled by life’s frustrations, can really begin to add up and take a toll on my spirit after a while.
One day it’s just missing prayer time in the morning to get the long day started. Another day, it’s neglecting to read the Bible because “I’m too stressed to focus on that.” Before long, it becomes a giant snowball of disconnection from God that I never saw coming. Does that ever happen to you?
Rough patches are real. The distractions and annoyances of life can make us want to put away God until a “more convenient” time. But I’ve learned this never really ends well. I need God when things are great, and I especially need Him when things are feeling rocky.
I can remember getting so deeply into a habit of avoiding Him when I was busy that I almost forgot I could run to Him when I was hurting. That’s when guilt can creep in. After spending so long not making Him a priority, how can I turn to Him now?
I’m really glad He doesn’t use our past apathy toward Him as a reason to turn us away in the present. I’m also glad that, when we turn to Him, He lets us know Him more. Jeremiah 24:7 says, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God because they will return to me with all their heart.”
In this passage, God was showing Jeremiah the fate of two groups: the Babylonian exiles from Judah, and the people who were left in Judah or who fled to Egypt amid the attack on their land. Because of the nation’s sin and God’s punishment, both groups were experiencing challenging times — captivity, invasion and disruption to life as they had known it. The people spared from exile might have arrogantly believed that they would be blessed by remaining in Judah. However, God said that He would give the exiles “a heart to know me … because they will return to me” (Jeremiah 24:7). And He would refine them through their circumstances.
I don’t know about you, but this gives me hope!
No, I’m not perfect. No, I don’t always have my priorities in order. But I do love God, and I want to do good things! For this reason, I can trust He will give me a heart to know Him as long as I return to Him.
God takes our efforts and multiplies them for His glory. We mess up over and over, but when we return to Him with all of our hearts, He turns our failures and brokenness into pathways that lead us to Him. It can be so tempting to get bogged down by our heaviness and discouragement that we shy away from God, but He says to return to Him with everything we’ve got, and He promises to give us hearts to know Him.
Only when we embrace Him, despite our pain, stress or shame, will He use the fragments of our lives to make something beautiful. He didn’t say, “Return to Me in perfect condition.” He just said to come with all our hearts. Doing so will give us the greatest reward — hearts to know Him.
What a blessing, to know He can shift and change us even at the level of our desires! The more times we return to Him, the more those “I don’t feel like it” moments become “I have to spend time with God” moments.
Thank You, God, for promising that, if I come back to You, You’ll let me know You more deeply. Thanks for doing a work in me. Give me a heart to return to You no matter what I face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (CSB)
Turning away from God can lead to a cycle of wanting less of Him. How can you remind yourself to always return to Him even when you don’t feel like it?
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