Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ – His power of life over death. That is truly good news in a world where death is a part of life and people we know and love are hurting from great losses. That is reality. Ruth Graham, daughter of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham wrote a book called In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart. We never know in our casual encounters with people how someone might be shouldering great hurt or loss underneath that smiling exterior. Broken hearts abound.
As a former church counselor, I can look out over an Easter service of 1,000 and be very cognizant of the many broken hearts represented. Many have been in my office as we have talked, listened, prayed, searched the Bible for direction and cried together. How do we deal adequately with our broken hearts?
Tim Grissom, co-author of Seeking Him, with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, shares how his wife Janiece was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Laternal Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). When she died at age forty-one she left a grieving husband and four heart-broken children. He describes the “earthly reality” of their circumstances as: painful, dreadful, overwhelming. At the same time Grissom recognized a “heavenly reality” that gave them hope. The awareness of God’s presence through this tumultuous time both “covered” and “carried” them. He describes that during this time “He was escorting us through the grief and protecting us from being mortally wounded by it.” Grief, with hope.
What gives hope to our broken hearts is that God is accomplishing something through our time of grief and loss if we will but allow Him to keep our hearts soft, and not becoming bitter, in the process. A broken heart is a heart that swells with compassion. A broken heart can attempt great things here on planet earth being driven by an inner push to help someone else so that they will not have to suffer in the same way. A broken heart has the opportunity to be strong for others and giving hope in seemingly hopeless situations. A broken heart can share the love of Christ like no other, for it by our suffering we enter in to an intimate communion with Christ.
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. I Peter 4:1-2 (NLT)
Suffering can purify, can clarify our callings and cause us to run our race with endurance, giving us great confidence to perform the work for which He has called us. Is your heart being broken? Then know that God has great purpose and plans ahead.