A Broken Heart


Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

If I’m honest, I’d say that I had always feared that I would not be able to have children. This fear of mine was unfounded, as no doctor had ever verified this fear or even given me a basis to cultivate it. I can remember the first thoughts creeping in when I was still a young girl, and by the time I was married, I had allowed that fear to begin to take root. When I married my husband, at the age of twenty-one, neither of us were in a hurry to begin adding children to our little family of two. At least not right away. My husband insisted on a “five year plan,” while my maternal clock started ticking after only being married for a few years.

God can use anything to accomplish His purpose. Even our fears. He is not a God who takes delight in hearing us confess our deepest, darkest fears, and then thrusting us right into the middle of them for His enjoyment. He does not work that way. What He does take delight in, though, is when we hand those fears over to Him. God does not want us to be controlled by fear. Trusting God does not mean that He will never make our fears become realities. Trusting God means taking to Him our most intimidating fears that are buried deep within our hearts, leaving them at the foot of the cross, and believing whole-heartedly that He can carry us through, no matter what lies ahead in the journey.

After almost a year of trying to conceive, the fear that I would not be able to have children grew and grew, pushing its roots down deep in my heart. Two and a half years later, I was still not pregnant. I cried so many tears during those years. There were times that I wondered if God had forgotten me. I was convinced that there was some reason He was punishing me, and I was so ashamed. It was difficult to talk about since it was such a private, intimate issue between my husband and me. People who loved me told me that I needed to relax and not think about it so much. Much of the advice I received during that time involved all the ways that I needed to change, so that I could control the situation better. I couldn’t change the situation. Only God could, which should have given me great peace, but instead I let my fear consume me.

Something changed, though, when I came across this verse which reveals so much about who God is. Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (NLT) I often imagine what size bottle He has used to collect my tears, because there have been so many. There were entire years where I felt like all I did was cry, when month after month I waited, only to receive the same disappointing news again and again. But here is a beautiful picture of the Creator if the Universe, bent down with His bottle to catch each and every tear that rolls down my face. Not only does He collect them, but He keeps a record of how many fall.

Jesus, God’s son, who came to Earth in the form of a baby, experienced every emotion that we do. He laughed, rejoiced, grieved, feared, was angered, and He wept. Tears mean something to Jesus. God gave us a heart that was designed to love and experience joy, to be in a relationship with Him. But he also equipped us with a heart that can break.

As God allowed my own heart to break bit by bit, I was able to see that I was trying to do God’s job. I did not fully trust Him. Sure, I trusted Him with some areas of my life. But not with this fear that had become my reality. I was still clinging to my plan, scared to death that I wouldn’t like His. But slowly, as God brought me to my knees, I gave him my whole heart and chose to trust that He knew what He was doing, even if it made no sense to me. Even if it meant coming face-to-face with the same fear I had allowed to seize my heart. What I learned was that only in total surrender was I ever really free. Only in total brokenness of spirit did I find my strength.

There is a passage of scripture that intertwines these two ideas of strength and brokenness. In 1 Samuel 2, Hannah pours out her heart to God in a beautiful prayer of praise and thanksgiving as she gives back to the Lord the son He has given to her after years of barrenness. She knew what the hand of the Lord could deliver when she exclaimed, ”The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.” (1 Samuel 2:4)

Brokenness is the means Christ uses to save us. Jesus embodies wholeness. He is God’s perfect completion. Only through Him can we be restored. When His healing hands reach down from heaven and wash us in His blood, we are a new creation. He takes the broken pieces of our lives and reconstructs them into a beautiful work of art, if we allow Him access into our hearts.

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