the trembling heart . . .

God sees the trembling heart.

He saw mine this morning, took notice of the growing conviction that began in me long before my burden made its way to my usual second pew. His Word sparked a fire. His Spirit fanned it into flame, and I trembled . . . all the way through four verses of Johnston’s and Towner’s Grace Greater Than Our Sin.

“Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,

Threaten the soul with infinite loss;

Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,

Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.”

Soul-threatening, infinite loss. There was something about that phrase that rang as a clarion call to my spirit; it stirred me in the deepest way, and my heart trembled privately in that moment. It didn’t warrant the response of others. I kept it hidden. Most times I don’t; soul-stirring moments usually move me to an altar and to my knees in responsive worship, but not today. Today, I stayed put . . . stayed hidden in Christ and allowed my trembling heart its due. It came in fullness, and I was washed afresh with a healthy and holy dose of reverence for the only God who can be known.

I fear the day when my heart no longer trembles with such awareness, when my soul remains unmoved by the Spirit’s stirring. That would be death to me. Certainly, there have been seasons in my spiritual journey when I’ve experienced a worldly numbness to God’s presence—times when I’ve been unaware of his movements within and around my life. Times when, perhaps, I chose not to look inward, to reach upward, to bow downward because of some foolish notion regarding my own abilities to shake off spiritual complacency and to stir up a fledgling faith.

I cannot create a trembling, reverent heart on my own. Without God’s participation and willing disclosure of himself, I cannot grow my fear of him. I can only receive it as it comes from him, times when God clearly and forcefully cuts through the chaos and clutter of my existence and announces his authority in undeniable measure. This I can recognize. This I can claim as truth.

God is God, and I am not. Today my heart trembled with this realization. In holy fear, I clutched my hymnal; I sang conviction, and the sinner inside of me looked inward, reached upward, and bowed downward in grateful pause for the holy love that swept me up, swiftly and fully into the grace of Jesus.

How long has it been since you’ve felt the holy trembling of your heart because of God’s revelation of himself? When was the last time your soul shook with the realization that God is God and that you are not? Have you forgotten to look inward, reach upward, bow downward in anticipation of God’s presence? What self-reliance is keeping you from holy dependence?

I cannot create a trembling moment for you. I can only point you to the One who is willing to give you one of your own. Get to God. Ask him for more of himself to be revealed to you in your hour of need. God is not reluctant in giving himself to his children. God stands ready. He’s looking for those who stand ready to receive.

“Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,

Freely bestowed on all who believe!

You that are longing to see His face,

Will you this moment His grace receive?”

Oh that we would never grow too grand and too certain regarding our righteousness that we forget the marvelous grace of our loving Lord! It exceeds our sin and our guilt and postures our souls for heavenly gain. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

19 Responses to the trembling heart . . .

  1. Oh my, God forbid that I ever grow cold to the grace of God. I pray God will do whatever it takes to keep my eyes focused perfectly on Christ.

  2. Hadn’t thought of THAT song for quite awhile….but OH! The grace!
    …that taught my heart to fear (and tremble)
    …that relieved those fears
    …that will lead me (US) home!

    I’m just sitting here in the after”shocks” of your post, Eileen. May He continue to meet us all in our “usual second pews”.

  3. This is one reason I love the old hymns. I think the writers had that conviction and knew the trembling heart and it is reflected in the hymns, and maybe more so than in so many of the contemporary Christian music.

    Thank you for this post as it reminds me to be more open to a trembling heart.

    • I wonder what life experiences helped them to see more clearly, Cindy. You’re right, the old hymns are extraordinarily rich with theology and depth. Love them!

  4. ” I can only receive it as it comes from him, times when God clearly and forcefully cuts through the chaos and clutter of my existence and announces his authority in undeniable measure. “

    I love how you worded this!

    Chaos and clutter try to drown out that still, small voice….but when our mountain moving Saviour extends His hand in one of those “trembling moments”…it’s almost more than my heart can stand…I usually dissolve in tears….

    • God in his kindness gives us these moments, sometimes in limited measure. Perhaps, because, he understands that an overdose of them just might kill us on the spot! Oh what a day that will be when we can behold him as he is in all his glory. Our hearts will be able to hold infinitely more then than they can hold in our present.

  5. I sit and listen to the sermon. I hear “we should”, “are you”, “the community”, “pray more”, “what is your passion”, and the topics go on and on. I think to myself what ever happened to simply revering the holy name of God? God desires us to always and forever uphold the holiness of His name first before anything else we can do or give to His kingdom. He is “I AM”, that alone is a trembling statement.

    http://advocateofhope.wordpress.com

  6. reminds me of ALL SUFFICIENT GRACE…love this lyric:

    Grace taught my heart to pray, And made my eyes o’erflow;
    ‘Tis grace which kept me to this day, And will not let me go!

    (Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/312#ixzz21ZlQWs9w)

    Our daily choice to proclaim, and should be stumble while looking away His Grace won’t let us go…

    2 Thessalonians 2:16 “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope….”

    Heartfelt post, my friend…may you see Him in a very special way today 😉

  7. Awesome post Elaine! One of your best I think! The song you referenced…”Grace Greater Than Our Sin” is a personal favorite of mine and I never hear it without being in awe of what a great God we serve and the largeness of His grace!

    The phrase you used…”God is God and I’m not”…is one which I have used several times during the past month. I just finished teaching a 4-week Bible study on Job in my ladies Sunday school class. That was what I closed with each Sunday….”God is God and we are not!” Kinda sorta the gist of the book of Job in a lot of ways.

    So glad that God’s grace is always greater than our sin….no matter how big the sin!

    God bless you my faithful friend Elaine!

    Marilyn

  8. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
    despite all its great strength it cannot save.
    But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
    to deliver them from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
    Psalm 93:17-19

    I’m often baffled & humbled that so great a God draws near. At times my soul swells & could fly. At other times I am undone … trembling. I believe one begets the other.

    Beautiful post!

  9. I long for the season when daily my heart trembles with such awareness, when my soul remains moved by the Spirit’s stirring…that would be life to me (changing your words a bit). I feel these words “Certainly, there have been seasons in my spiritual journey when I’ve experienced a worldly numbness to God’s presence—times when I’ve been unaware of his movements within and around my life. Times when, perhaps, I chose not to look inward, to reach upward, to bow downward because of some foolish notion regarding my own abilities to shake off spiritual complacency and to stir up a fledgling faith” and await His timing in the chaos that engulfs my days.

    Believing and trusting in Him~Pamela

  10. “I cannot create a trembling, reverent heart on my own. ”

    This is so true. On its own, our hearts would be hard and cold.

    Such a precious post, it really moves me, and inspires me anew to draw near… to the heart of God.

    Love
    Lidia

  11. I love God’s grace. However, I think that at times we forget His Holiness. In the Bible, Isaiah and also John in Revelation fell on their faces in response. I never want to take my relationship with Him for granted and too casually. He is Holy and it is a privilege and honor to get to worship Him.

    Elaine, you express things in ways I cannot. Thank you for expressing so beautifully today.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

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