It is the first Sunday of Advent . . . but before I turn our thoughts toward the manger in Bethlehem, I think of those who are grieving, those who are hurting and I wonder about their hearts. Can a broken heart be healed? Does the hurt ever go away? And in the meantime, is there a way to keep on living?
Heartache is part of our human condition. We will experience it in lesser or greater ways throughout our lives; of that, I am sure. Whether it is the death of someone near and dear, or betrayal of a loved one … whatever the cause, it is sure to come. Thinking about this as I prayed this morning, I said to God, ‘only you can comprehend the depths of our hurt, only you can heal it, and restore our hearts.’ 'So, Lord, if I were to step into your presence, crippled with hurt, what would you say to me? If I were to carry a dear friend to you, crushed by the heartache of pain and loss in her life, what would you say to her?' “Child, I am with you; you do not walk alone. I know what it is like to lose someone you love. Come to me, and I will give you rest.1 There is nothing that you will face or feel that I have not already experienced2, so I can help you through your troubled time. I have noticed how you sometimes think you can live your life without me—you think you are self sufficient and manage most everything by yourself. I appreciate your ‘can do’ attitude, but you see, when that is how you think, then prayer is just a nice little add-on to your daily habits; it is not your life’s breath. It is not what gets you through. On the other hand, when life gets hard~ when you are unsure how you will go on, when it feels as though your heart may just break in two, when you are so tired or discouraged that life just doesn’t seem manageable when you are overwhelmed by circumstances, certain that there are no easy or ready answers… then, please remember that I, your loving God, never slumber, and I do not sleep.3 I am close to the brokenhearted—that is a promise.4 In reality, dear one, sometimes, it is through pain that I am able to soften your heart, and get your attention. It is when you cannot reason or talk all things out and find a place to make each fit … when you are unable to find neat little boxes or tidy packages in which to tie things up … that you turn your gaze toward me, and give me a chance. Sometimes it is when I am all you have that you realize I am all you need. ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."5 Friends, maybe the prayer that is answered more often than any other is just eight words—two words, repeated four times: “Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God!” It is when we come to the end of ourselves, the end of what we are able to manage and control, and turn heavenward, realizing that God Is Mighty To Save, And He Alone Is Able To Save.6 As long as SELF is in the way, there is not much room for God to come and do the miraculous, whether we pray or not. Perhaps when our hearts hurt, God has his greatest opportunity with us. Rather than just struggling along, we can ask God to come and meet us, and heal our brokenness. I believe he says, ‘You won’t face anything, Child, that I have not, so I understand … I get it. Because I knit you together in your mother's womb7, I also understand you! I understand the depth and breadth of your emotion, like no one else. I’m not just big enough to bear it all, I am also BIGGER than all of it. I am outside of time and space and can rescue you. If you look to me, I will give you what you need—the grace—to make it through one day at a time.8 I love you. I am here. Your Father’ One source for comfort: Christ Alone - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16KYvfIc2bE Praying for your heart, Christine 1 – Matthew 11.28 2 – 1 Corinthians 10.13 3 – Psalm 121.4 4 – Psalm 34.18 5 - John 14.27 6 – Zephaniah 3.17 7 – Psalm 139.13 8 - 2 Corinthians 12.9