Weak Hearts


Bernard’s life has been particularly rough these past few months. His wife is divorcing him, and he’s witnessing his children making the same mistakes he did. Then a few weeks ago, he called from the hospital to tell us that he’d had a massive heart attack.

The Bernard we know has an infectious spirit, and is often joking and laughing in the Ministry Center. He always has a positive attitude and a plan for how to find a better housing program or a new job. He finds meaning in being in control of his life. But Bernard is also very open and vulnerable in sharing his struggles.

The day after hearing from Bernard, a few Emmaus staff members and I went to visit him at the hospital. Despite losing his wife, children, and health, Bernard was full of joy and energy. I was in awe of his cheerful spirit!

A few days later at our monthly staff Day of Prayer, we were encouraged to ask the Holy Spirit to place on our hearts the men who were most in need of prayer. Bernard kept resonating in my heart and mind. As I prayed, the Lord repeated to me multiple times, “It’s okay for Bernard to have a weak heart.” I was confused: Bernard had just had a heart attack that could have killed him!

I asked the Holy Spirit to clarify, and the Lord spoke to me that He desires for Bernard to know that He has a strong enough heart for the two of them. It’s okay for Bernard to have a weak heart, because the Lord wants to be his strength. Bernard does not always have to be strong spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, because the Lord is with him.

I was reminded of the verse in II Corinthians 12 when Paul asks the Lord to remove the “thorn” in his side. Paul writes, “The Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I wrote a letter to Bernard sharing what the Lord had said about having a weak heart. He wrote back, “Thank you for reminding me that my life is not mine.”

Bernard’s letter struck me because I realized that I do not allow myself to have a weak heart. I build a fortress around my heart so that I appear strong and impenetrable. I do not surrender and give up control, because I am scared. But this facade does not work, because I end up miserable. My life is not my own; it is the Lord’s. When I invite God into my weakness and junk, the Lord always reveals to me His true identity: love. The Lord desires our weak hearts so He can be the fullness of who He is: our Creator.

1 Comment
  1. Katie, you’re such a beautiful writer. You never cease to amaze me! God bless you.

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