We all know that we face many trials in this life. Jesus warned us in John 16:33 (NKJV), “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The great news is that if we have Jesus in us, we, too, are overcomers. Sometimes we forget that! When we do, our hearts hurt. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) warns us to “...guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
I would like to look at two types of heart that can experience much pain: a vulnerable heart and a tender heart. Both are weak. The vulnerable heart is a negative weakness that attracts attacks, whereas the tender heart is a positive weakness that attracts God’s power. God was talking about the tender weakness when He said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV)
Let’s look a little closer at how being vulnerable compares to being tender:
As Christians, we all have times of vulnerability as well as tenderness. The enemy wants to take the tender places of our heart and make them vulnerable. God, on the other hand, wants to take our vulnerabilities and make them tender.
How do we pray for the vulnerable? We pray for them to repent. Why should they repent if others are the ones who keep hurting them? To answer that, you need to know what “repent” really means. The Greek word for “repent” is “metanoia.” “Meta” - to change; “Noia” - mind. So it means to have a mindset change. When you are vulnerable, you need to have a change of thinking to get your mind off yourself and on to God and others.
How do we pray for the tender? We pray for them to be protected. Because of the compassion from which a tender person operates, his heart is exposed and will be hurt. God does not want the tender heart to be hardened. He wants the tender heart to be protected. How is that going to happen? To answer that, let’s look at each line in Philippians 4:5-7:
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” This describes a tender heart.
“Do not be anxious about anything,” A vulnerable heart is the one that is always anxious.
“but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” That is how you receive a tender heart.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That is how your heart will be guarded.
I challenge you to ask God to transform the vulnerable places of your heart into a tender heart. Then you can be a conduit of His power to others who need Him. Even when bad things happen, you will be confident that God will cause all things to work together for your good. (Rom. 8:28) Out of those times in the fire, you will actually be purified and prepared for the bigger call of God on your life to make a difference in the lives of others.