Last weekend, after we discussed what was happening to Christians in the Middle East during dinner, Spencer held back while the other two scurried upstairs to continue playing.
Amid the clanking of dishes being put in the dishwasher and water streaming from the sink, he asks, “Can they change their hearts?”
“Who?” I asked, confused. It had been a few minutes and five other conversations had taken place since then.
“The bad guys over there who are hurting the people who believe in Jesus,” he answered.
Staring into those innocent, chocolate eyes and seeing the boy who routinely proclaims “I love my life!” I affirm what all Christians know.
“Absolutely, Spencer. Nothing is ever impossible with God because He makes all things new,” I respond.
We then talk about how Saul wasn’t very nice and hurt many people but then his heart changed and he became Paul – the Paul who wrote most of the New Testament.
Satisfied, he left our conversation to join the others but I stayed behind.
Out of the mouths of babes.
How often have I thought, “Oh, she’s a lost cause!” or “He’ll never change!”?
How many times have I put limits on what God can do?
How have I discouraged others by voicing doubts like this?
The truth is . . . anyone can change their hearts. Even terrorists. Even murderers. Even those who worship the enemy. Even rapists.
And yes, it’s true that some cases might look hopeless but then . . . who would have believed the fate of Saul? Who would have ever thought Matthew could be anything but a wretched tax collector?
With God all things are possible. Not some things – all things.
So . . . yes, Spencer, hearts can change. They change every day.
Even when I put limits around God through the closed box of my own mind. Even when I allow Satan’s voice to drown-out His voice. Even when I lack belief that He can indeed do all things – even the seemingly impossible things.
Because He’s a God of restoration and transformation. A God that makes all things new. A God who believes in many chances. A God who sent His very own son to die for us so we could be reconciled with Him. A God who gives grace and new mercies each day to all who choose to open the gift He so freely gave.
I rinse the dishes and load them up in the washer and I exhale. I myself was restored and transformed. I was made anew. I was given many chances and still am. And I greedily devour His grace and new mercies each morning.
He can change the cruelest of hearts. He can convert the staunchest skeptic. He can can pick-up and build so anew the former is no longer recognizable.
He can indeed do all things.