on broken hearts

A broken heart is confusion.

You want Time to either fast-forward or rewind—anything but crawl at this excruciating pace.

You wanted something and you lost it. That job, that person, that hope for a better life. What is your life worth without it?

A broken heart is impatience.

You beat and shake the gates of Time, desperate to flee the Present for the solace of the Past or Future. The hours grind on bit by bit. You want Time to either fast-forward or rewind—anything but crawl at this excruciating pace.

You cannot function without a whole heart and you crave for it to be fixed, now. “Make it stop,” you plead. “I will cut my heart out if I have to.” And some people do. History finds them instigating lynch mobs and manning the gas chambers at Auschwitz. 920knig-R2-030-13A

A broken heart is loneliness.

No one can fully understand your suffering. Your heart is a thumbprint, and the way it shatters is unique to you. You may choke grief down and ignore it, or you may wallow in it. But you are ultimately alone in it.

A broken heart is God’s loving discipline.

God will always wield your pain for good. Because “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-5). And it is hope in God’s promises that brings us righteousness (Romans 3:21-22). Righteousness is a gift given through fire and suffering. The brokenness is necessary, even if we never fully understand it.

Job is the flagbearer of broken hearts. He lost everything. Riches, family, health. So Job tore his clothing in agony, bellowing that word that beats like a sadistic clock in the minds of the brokenhearted: “Why?”

And God said this:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!

Job 38:4-5

The Lord, appearing in a mighty whirlwind, does not answer why. He answers, “Trust me,” with a force of majesty. He shows His Power so that we can feel safe in His arms. The Lord is not antagonistic here; He is emphatic.

The brokenness is necessary, even if we never fully understand it.

At the Lord’s words, Job repents of his disbelief. The Lord then restores Job’s blessings—twofold.

Like an infant on a long journey, we understand little of what happens to us. The road feels bumpy and scary. There is hunger and pain, and our Father does not tell us why. But He will say, “Trust me,” with whatever force it takes until we do. He is carrying us Home. He knows that the only fate awaiting us outside of His arms is spiritual death. A loving Father keeps His children near and safe, even if it takes agony to do so.

A broken heart is mendable.

Through suffering, God is making your heart peaceful and radiant (Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 23:2). There are no chandeliers without the scorching flame of a glassmith.

When the heart breaks, you must cup it in your hands and stare at it.

When the heart breaks, you must cup it in your hands and stare at it. Let your tears fall onto the shards until the grief overflows like thin waterfalls from your palms. And then lift your heart up as high as you can. It will take much strength to do this, because a broken heart is heavy. But it will not be for long. Our Father will cup the heart, just as you did—so carefully—and warm the pieces until they melt together, differently than before. Better than before. You need not even cry out for help. He hears the screaming of your heart. It was He, after all, who let it break in the first place.

Because He loves you.

One day your heart broke. And one day God will heal it. You are on a river of Time, unstoppable, unaffected by your cries. Time will cradle and carry you no matter what. Slow as it may go, Time never stops moving you closer to healing. You need only be patient and trusting. Because your God promised you salvation on the day you first loved Him, and He will see it through.

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:6

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