The Heart – Inner Wilderness for God

If we are to prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness, it is important to realize that the “inner wilderness” of the soul is the most important one to prepare. The nature of the preparation is, what the Scriptures and the saints refer to as “purification.”  The “pure heart” is the dwelling of God. This pure heart not only receives its savior but continues to receive Him, in a descriptive manner of speaking, by maturing in the reception. Call it the consummation in all aspects of the inner person of what is already and unceasingly true in the holy of holies of the heart. The inner wilderness, in which the tabernacle of the Lord is located, is transformed to reflect the glory residing there. The glory expands as the purification continues. What is, is even more so, if that makes any paradoxical sense (?!) The silent reality of the God-man, “Truth reigning,” a communion of peace and joy and hope and, and, and, … is enjoyed/lived. When did this “begin?” I know not. I need not know. I need to participate. I do know I participate and do so even more so though I dare not measure it lest I hinder His expansive transformation and gift to me of me in Him. That is enough.

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“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3.16-19)

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We read these words in the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.’ The Lord wishes to find a way by which he might enter your hearts and walk therein. Prepare this way for him of whom it is said: ‘Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.’ The voice cries out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way.’ This voice first reaches our ears; and then following it, or rather with it, the Word penetrates our understanding. It is in this sense that Christ was announced by John.

Let us see, therefore, what the voice announces concerning the Word. ‘Prepare,’ says the voice, ‘the way of the Lord.’ What way are we to prepare for the Lord? Is it a material way? Can the Word of God take such a way? Ought we not rather to prepare an inner way for the Lord by making the paths of our heart straight and smooth? Indeed, this is the way by which the Word of God enters in order to take up his abode in the human heart made ready to receive him.

How great is the human heart! What width and capacity it possesses, provided it is pure! Do you wish to know its greatness and width? Look at the extent of the divine knowledge that it embraces. It tells us itself: ‘God gave me sound knowledge of existing things that I might know the organisation of the universe and the force of its elements, the beginning and the end and the mid-point of times, the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons. Cycles of years, positions of the stars, natures of animals, tempers of beasts, powers of the winds and thoughts of people, uses of plants and virtues of roots.’

Thus, you see that the human heart knows so many things and is of no small compass. But notice that its greatness is not one of size but of the power of thought by which it is capable of knowing so many truths.

In order to make everyone realise how great the human heart is, let us look at a few examples taken from everyday life. We still retain in our minds all the towns which we have ever visited. Their features, the location of their squares, walls, and buildings remain in our hearts. We keep the road which we have travelled painted and engraved in our memories; and the sea over which we have sailed is harboured in our silent thought. As I have just said, the human heart knows so many things and is of no small compass.

Now, if it is not small, and if it can grasp so much, we can prepare the way of the Lord there and make straight the way where the Word, the Wisdom of God, will walk. Let each of you, then, prepare the way of the Lord by a good conscience; make straight the way so that the Word of God may walk within you without stumbling and may give you knowledge of his mysteries and of his coming. Celebrating the Seasons, by Robert Atwell.

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