The human heart is made of muscle, capillaries, arteries and porcelain. It is delicate and it is precious. It cannot be repaired.
Day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute our hearts beat life through our veins as we pay them absolutely no mind whatsoever. It’s only when it stops working efficiently that we notice how much we rely on it. I’m currently having tests to find out what’s wrong with my heart. I’m having severe pains and palpitations. I become short of breathe and dizzy. Medically, my heart might be broken. Emotionally, my heart is definitely broken.
Naomi Eisenberg of the University of California has crunched the numbers and made scientific what we already know so well: a broken heart is very painful. According to the study, emotional and physical pain trigger the same responses in the brain. So, put candidly, it hurts as much to be dumped as it does to break your arm.
My brother got married on the weekend. It was a beautiful day. I enjoyed every moment of it! But, naturally, as his only sibling and the only single person in the bridal party, every dreadful question felt like a knife to the heart followed by a generous helping of salt to the wound. When am I going to get married? When are people going to stop asking me that?
I feel rejected, unloved and abandoned. In the last three weeks, I’ve cried the Mississippi River three times over into my pillow. I’ve dropped to my knees in the shower, silently screaming my pain into the tiled floor as the jets of hot water carried my sorrow down the drain.
But I haven’t let anyone know how I’m feeling. Because it’s shameful isn’t it? I don’t want to admit that I’m suffering from a broken heart. It should have mended by now, but it hasn’t.
Chances are, if you’ve had any sort of experience with humans at all, you can sympathise with how I’m feeling. We can all feel so absolutely alone and isolated in our pain that it serves as a good reminder that everyone on the planet has suffered personal tragedy.
And our Saviour has too.
The Bible says that Jesus was a man acquainted with sorrow.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3, KJV)
We don’t know pain like He did.
I once had a friend who proudly announced on Facebook that he was ready to join in the suffering of Christ. The social media world applauded his conviction and devotion. I questioned his sanity.
Really? You want to join in Christ’s suffering? You want to feel rejected, abandoned, humiliated, bludgeoned, broken, beaten beyond recognition, abused by those you love, tortured, destroyed? You want to be known as a liar by the ones you came to save? You want to be spat on? Ignored and misunderstood all of your life?? Not even Jesus WANTED to feel that pain, and YOU DO??
“…he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will”.” (Matthew 26:39, NIV)
YOU WANT TO DRINK DEEPLY OF THAT CUP??
God’s pain is thus that He loves those who deny Him, hate Him, ignore Him, curse Him. He loves me and He loves you.
Heartbreak is like the world’s hottest chilly. It builds in intensity over time, it scars the memory, it makes the eyes water and it leaves the consumer in shock. And so does God’s love. It’s intensity is so unlike anything we could ever truly experience on earth, it brings a grown man to tears and has the power to bring entire nations to their knees.
The Bible is really just sixty-six love letters. Passionate, tender and painful all at once. God’s heart is broken for this world, for His unfaithful bride that turns to unworthy idols instead of her loving Saviour.
After we experience heartbreak, we learn to hate. When God feels the pain of heartbreak, He loves so much more fiercely. We see that most clearly through the story of Hosea, which I very much encourage you to read (and dare you to do it dry-eyed).
When my heart is at its most fragile, when I’m barely clutching the brittle pieces of porcelain after it has shattered on the hard, unforgiving concrete of life, that’s when I can know the love of a Saviour whose heart was broken long ago.
I sit here in my quiet study, ready to admit to the world what we’re all too afraid to confess to ourselves: I have a broken heart. And in my brokenness, I can know my Saviour’s heart so profoundly, so intimately and so personally that I may rejoice in the tears that flow from my dark, pain-filled eyes. Something sacred there is in the wounded heart. Something healing there is in admitting you have one.
Yours in the security of a loving Saviour and the reality of the brokenhearted,