When Your Heart Is Breaking
The dictionary defines heartbreak as “crushing grief, anguish, or distress.” In today’s world, the term brokenhearted usually describes someone who has suffered a failed relationship or loss of a loved one. A search of the internet makes it appear as though almost all heartbreak comes from divorce or being dropped by a lover. But a broken heart may be brought on by a myriad of causes such as disappointment in a child’s lifestyle, loss of possession, loss of job, etc. Whatever the cause, the pain of a broken heart can be enormous.
The world would assert that hope lies in psychoanalysis and medication. Advice may include taking an antidepressant, writing an angry letter and tearing it up, going on a shopping spree, getting a makeover, etc. Some would advocate the power of positive thinking. The most common “cure” is time. The world’s focus is on feelings, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). While the non-Christian may sense a waning in intensity of heartbreak, only a Christian can experience complete recovery because only the Christian has access to the power of the Spirit of God who alone “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
The events in Job’s life may be the earliest biblical record of heartbreak. In one day Job lost his children, almost all worldly possessions, his health, and his means of livelihood. What was Job’s response? “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD'” (Job 1:20-21). Job grieved. Yet, he worshiped God and remained faithful. Although he had doubts as to God’s goodness in these terrible events, through the trial he grew closer to God through God’s revelation of Himself (Job 42:1-5). Job learned what all believers can learn through heartbreak—God is faithful and good and trustworthy.
David, a man after God’s own heart, suffered many heartbreaking circumstances. Each time, he recovered and was an even stronger man of God. Psalm 34 gives an example of how David overcame heartbreak by calling on the Lord. Notice the first step: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). David knew “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Finally, he expressed a confidence in the love of God that every believer should have: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).
One might ask in a moment of despair, “He may have helped David, but does God care about me?” The answer is He absolutely does! “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). What a comfort to know that God “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God is always near to comfort the believer. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). God, who cannot lie, has promised to go through our trials with us. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).
God never failed one of His people when they cried out to Him, and He will not fail the heartbroken Christian who cries out to Him today. He may not always answer exactly in the way we would like, but He answers according to His perfect will and timing and, while we are waiting for the answer, His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Finally, those who belong to Christ and are enduring heartbreak must know that God loves them and that His love is unconditional. Imagine the grief God the Father endured as He witnessed the crucifixion of His Son on the cross. What amazing love! That same God is there to comfort the brokenhearted and restore the joy of their salvation.