Remember the song ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?’ One line in the song goes like this… “I know I have to find some kind of peace of mind – help me please!” I describe my state of being after enduring Beth’s suffering, and living with her loss, as heartbroken. I remember standing in the kitchen on a particularly hard day while she was suffering and experiencing a wrenching in my spirit. I said to myself, “Surely, this is what a broken heart feels like.”
None of us desires the pain of a broken heart, but nevertheless it comes as an inevitable part of our life journey and even as an integral part of our call to follow Jesus. As we endure the pain of our broken hearts, is it possible to look up and see our brokenness in a different light?
There are many examples in the Bible where a broken heart is seen as a good thing – even a desirable state. The prophet Jeremiah was brokenhearted as was the patriarch Jacob and of course the psalmists cry out in brokenness right throughout the Psalter. Psalm 51 gives us a big indication that a broken heart is actually necessary for spiritual growth and a basis for our relationship with God.
Jesus Christ was brokenhearted like none other. In the devotional this week, we talk about being united with Jesus in His suffering and thus knowing Him more intimately. Another way we could phrase this concept is: “to know God is to BE heartbroken with Him”. Brokenness is the seedbed of renewal and joy to come. It seems then that broken hearts laid bare before God are invaluable treasures to His heart! Broken hearts are starting points, used by God to bring glory to His Name, healing and blessing into our own lives and into the lives of others.
I continue to cry out to God with desperation to know Him more. Our suffering has increased our desire for more of the Healer. Alongside this prayer I have also cried out in my being, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours! “I now realize that both these heart felt prayers are not for the faint hearted!
Knowing God means that at some point in our lives we will indeed BE Heartbroken. This heartbreak may come from personal suffering and in the necessary realization of our sinful condition. Heartbreak comes before repentance and forgiveness. There is also a collective world-wide suffering God desires us to be aware of as we draw closer to Him. God is sad at the state of this world and the suffering of His children after the Fall. Friends, our God is heartbroken with us! So here is the crux of our topic this week: while God is the Healer and binds up the wounds of a broken heart, at the same time He invites us to enter into His pain with Him – BE Heartbroken like Him so that we can know Him more and be agents of His blessing to a brokenhearted world.
Just as Bethany came to know the physical suffering of Christ in her body, I am getting to know the Father heart, the brokenness of God more intimately. There is no doubt that I have come to know God more through having my heart broken. I have not enjoyed the process, but I have caught a little glimpse of the anguish that the Father must have experienced as He watched his Son suffer and die. The parental heart of the Father was undoubtedly broken in ways I will never comprehend. Oh how the grief and deep sorrow goes on for Him as He is separated from so many of His children!
So friends, what does become of the brokenhearted in God’s Kingdom? The songwriter was looking for help and great news – it is available! Trust Jesus with your broken heart, come to know Him more through it and be filled with His shalom peace. This peace of mind is His life-giving gift – from one broken heart to another!
Some quotes to inspire you:
“My grand point in preaching is to break the hard heart, and to heal the broken one.” ~ John Newton
“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.” ~ Rick Warren
A song to encourage you:
Hosanna by Brooke Fraser
Books to build you up:
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
If God is Good, Why Do We Hurt So Much? by Randy Alcorn