Ever had your heart torn apart? Maybe it has been broken in two more times that you can count. What is the common factor that tears our hearts asunder and creates the kind of pain that makes every breath unbearable?
Is it not the state of being separated from those our hearts are intricately connected to?
Is it not the denial of peaceful, intimate relationship with those we love and cherish most?
I am enduring that horrible heartache once again. My darling dad was ripped away from our presence suddenly and without explanation recently, leaving many things unspoken and undone. It hurts like crazy for those of us left behind suffering from raw heart wounds. Yet for him, the woundings of this life are finally healed and real life has just begun! He is reunited with his mother, brother, son and granddaughter and his heart is no longer torn – thank you Lord Jesus!
A few weeks before this, I witnessed another kind of heart-tear. Together with my family, we watched on as dear friends willingly chose to BE Torn for the sake of something bigger, something deeper and more encompassing than this life.
For the sake of the Good News of King Jesus, these amazing friends willingly allowed their hearts to BE Torn as their family intentionally separated and scattered across the globe. We were there at the airport, silent witnesses to an incredible scene, watching on as their large extended family granted their heart torn blessing and released them to fly across the seas to minister to refugees in Africa. Why would they deliberately open themselves up to such agony and what explains the unmistakable joy that was mingled in with the heart-breaking pain?
The pain of this heart tear is real alright – a tangible presence in our home as their two eldest daughters are now sheltering with our family for this season of separation. But the joy is also authentic and there is a sense of rightness about this time apart as each member of this family seeks God’s Kingdom and is not afraid to follow the dream He has placed inside them.
The concept of willingly allowing our hearts to BE Torn for the sake of the Gospel is not new. But every single time, it hurts like mad – there is no denying it! The apostle Paul sure knew what it felt like. In his letters to the early church, you can almost hear the fabric of his heart tearing apart as he endured many painful separations from those he loved and ministered to…
“God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus!” Phil. 1:8
“…when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you… for what it our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” 1Thess. 2:17-20
Most times we simply don’t have a say when our hearts get torn. The death of people we love and the end of relationships we treasure often come suddenly, like murderous thieves in the night, and we are plundered. But there is another kind of tearing we do have a choice to bear. Are we willing like Paul, like our friends and millions before them to allow our hearts to BE Torn for the sake of Jesus? This call to follow Jesus goes against our culture and against every self-preservation fibre of our being! But the concept bears further investigation as Jesus Himself promised that being torn for Him will indeed be eternally worthwhile….
“…anyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Mt. 19:29
The call to follow Jesus and BE Torn is a HUGE one for sure, but Jesus is not asking us to do something that He has not already done. He was torn for us – His body tortured and smashed, His heart literally pierced and broken in two. More than that, He was separated for a season from His Father for our sakes – a sacrifice that will take an eternity for us to fathom.
It is inevitable friends that in choosing to follow Jesus our hearts will BE Torn and we will separated from our loved ones for a ‘short’ time for the sake of His Kingdom dreams, for one reason or another. My family knows that searing pain within the heartbeat of the ministry God has given us – but thankfully it comes laced with a good dose of His joy!
Yes… followers of Yeshua are called to follow the way of the cross. Death, separation and brokenness are essential elements of the Kingdom journey of obedience. But let us ever keep before us the incredible promises of resurrection life that will last forever! Let’s not forget the exceedingly joyful reunions and complete healings that will restore what has been lost and transform these unbearable tearings into magnificent crowns!