“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
One of the things I think chronic illness has given me, is a more heightened sense of empathy for others who are struggling. At least that’s what I like to think I’m learning.
When I look back at some of the dark times in my illness journey, I long for that not to be the experience of others. Maybe sometimes I just understand more of what they might be feeling–because I’ve been there myself. Sometimes my heart just aches.
There have been times when I felt a real burden to pray for someone with very real needs, and it felt like my heart would break. Sometimes I didn’t even know much about their situation, or what was actually going on, but God really brought them to mind and it still felt like my heart was breaking for them.
I’m not sure why God lets us feel that way, but maybe it’s to get our attention. I’ve heard someone use the expression “breaking our hearts for what breaks God’s” and while I’m not sure where that comes from–surely that’s part of why God wants to maintain our attention. We are to be compassionate–as He is. The verse above from Psalm 34, reminds us that God cares about the brokenhearted and remains close by, comforting them.
In one of Joni Eareckson Tada’s devotionals, talking about how opals are beautiful because of the flaws that admit air and refract light*, she says:
“Only when my heart is fractured, full of minute fissures, can God’s love enter in and refract His own light.”
Love for God, leads us to love for others. We can’t do any of this without acknowledging our dependence on God and His strength. Breaking open our hearts, so that they might reflect His light and comfort to others.
Whatever the reason, those times when it felt my heart would break, I hope that they were also the times that drew me to pray more, to be obedient to what God was prompting me to do, and also to continue to look harder for those people in need of prayer, or encouragement.
Prayer: Father, may my heart break, for what breaks Yours. Help me to be open to the needs of others and to reflect Your light, to the places it’s needed most. Amen.
About the Author:
Fiona Burrows lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is thankful that God walks each step of her life with her, and that He is teaching her new things as she learns to live with chronic back pain. She enjoys finding time for reading, writing, and photography, and to share those things with others. You can contact her in the Sunroom, or read more of her writing on her blog there.
* Joni Eareckson Tada, October 16 devotional–More Precious Than Silver: The Opal.
Have you ever felt such a burden to pray for someone, that it felt like the burden was so heavy on your heart that it might break?
Fiona thought you may like this beautiful worship song, “Open The Eyes Of My Heart” with Michael W Smith. May God do just that for us all today. -Lisa