Job 23:16 “For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:”
Job made a great statement about what his personal trial was doing to his heart when he said, “For God maketh my heart soft,…” Job was not saying that he didn't care for people before, but he was saying that God was softening his heart towards others while he went through his personal tragedy. Before the calamity that hit Job, he was probably a bit harder on people who were going through hard times, but God had to make his heart soft so that He could use him in a greater way.
When I was a young preacher, I cared for people, but I just didn't have the soft heart for people. When I preached against sin, I preached about the awfulness of sin without having the heart as I should have for the sinner. God had to make my heart soft so I could better help the sinner. God shattered my crystal ball world by sending me through the greatest heartbreak of my life, but that heartbreak made my heart soft. The difference between now and when I was younger is that I now preach about the awfulness of sin with a broken heart and a tear in the eye. Because God made my heart soft, I care more for those going through trials instead of being indifferent about their situation. It is not that I didn't care before; it was just that I had not had my heart softened to be able to care for them so that I could better help them. If God is going to use you in a great way, He will have to soften your heart. I find three ways that God soften our heart.
First, God softens our heart through personal tragedy. Tragedy has a way of softening your heart towards those going through the same tragedy. My mother died of cancer, and because she died of cancer, my heart tends to want to help those who are battling cancer. I pray a bit more for those who have cancer because God made my heart soft towards cancer patients because of my mother. The tragedy you face in your life will help you to be more compassionate towards those going through the same tragedy that you have faced if you let it soften your heart. God wants to use your personal tragedy as a tool to soften your heart.
Second, God softens your heart through personal trials. Every trial you face is not only a tool to get you closer to God, but it is also God’s tool to soften your heart towards those who face the same trials. You will find that the trial you are facing today can be a tool to help others if you will let it soften your heart and use it to help others who are going through the same heartache.
Third, God softens your heart through service. It says about Jesus in Matthew 9:36, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them,…” One reason many have no heart for the sinner is because they are not trying to reach them. The more I try to help people, the more I see what sin is doing to their lives, which softens my heart towards the sinner and makes me hate the sin that is destroying them more. You will never have a soft heart towards the sinner until you start trying to reach the multitudes.
My friend, you can either let tragedy and trials soften your heart so you can better help people, or you can let tragedy and trial cause you to get bitter and you won’t help anyone with a bitter heart. Let me encourage you to let these areas soften your heart because that is God’s intention for putting them in your life.