So the other day, a few of the Tejas ladies got together to discuss Romans 9…And we all came to the conclusion that it’s a hard chapter to swallow.  Verses 15, 16 and 18 give you the main idea of the chapter, 15 “For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” 16 So it is God who decides to show mercy.  We can neither choose it nor work for it…18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.”

Bam, there it is…God chooses to show mercy to some, but God also chooses to harden some people’s hearts.  How in the world can we accept that and make sense of that in our limited human brains?  After a lot of discussion, we started to realize that when God chooses to harden hearts, it is always to bring Himself glory, and to soften the hearts of many more.  The biggest example is related to Jesus’ death.  God used the Romans to accomplish Jesus’ crucifixion and the Jewish Pharisees to cry out for his crucifixion.  Everyone’s heart was hardened in that situation so that Jesus could accomplish the ONLY thing that will save us and melt our hearts with gratitude, and similar mercy and compassion.  If everyone loved Jesus and had soft hearts toward him, they never would have let him die on the cross, and our sins would not have been paid for.  We NEED a Savior, and God had to harden hearts in order to provide it.
Another example is the apostle Paul.  Not only was his heart hard, most people of his day would have described him as evil.  However his persecution of Christians weeded out “fake” believers and also forced true Christians to draw closer to God. His life also provided one of the most dramatic testimonies of a sinner in need of salvation.  It makes me wonder about some of the people I know today who haven’t chosen to follow Jesus.  It may seem like their heart is hard now, but what bigger purpose is being accomplished by God, and when might their hard heart soften to result in a beautiful testimony of salvation and mercy and grace?  I guess my main point is don’t give up on those who seem lost or hardened today…keep praying for them and keep watching to see what God is doing in the bigger picture. His timing is best.