Anyone who grew up in the 70’s like me will likely find it hard to read those words without hearing the staccato falsetto of the BeeGees. Sorry.
But in spite of that, it is a good question. There is so much heart-break in raw reality of life. And there are so many living constantly with those aching, unmended hearts.
The searing pain of knowing someone you loved betrayed you, let you down, didn’t care or gave up when you needed them most is severe.
In truth, nothing hurts like your broken heart.
Except when you face someone whose heart you broke. The stinging reality of knowing you betrayed, let down, didn’t care or gave up when you were needed most by someone who loved you is savage.
Those are moments when you look back and say, “I thought we’d never come back from that one.”
I have been on both ends of that brokenness–that internal ache welling up in a tsunami of pain at the slightest provocation. It is literally breath-taking. Not in a good way.
Your heart is your center…your core. The realest part of the real you.
There is no more basic assault on the security of your identity than when that heart is broken.
The true causes of heartbreak are endemic to living in a world full of broken people. They are as unavoidable as they are unpredictable. Most of the time you just don’t see them coming.
- Broken dreams. When the glimmering expectations of making a difference, leaving a mark or creating a new reality lay in shattered fragments at your feet, your heart suffers the same fate.
- Broken promises. You believe the words and they are sweet to your soul. A promise. Something offered by someone with your best and highest in mind. When those words turn out to be less than firm, the resulting quake can turn the heart to rubble.
- Broken trust. Anchored in the character of the person you believe in, trust is as vulnerable as it is foundational. When it is violated, so is the heart. Ravished, ravaged and ruptured.
- Broken relationships. Whether fractured homes, lost friendships, busted partnerships or estranged loved ones, result in losing the safe intimacy of passionate relationship it devastates the deeper places of the heart.
There is no medicine for a broken heart. Modern culture offers anesthetics that only deaden and dull the heart. No prescription that can take away the soul-ache.
The only real treatment for a crushed heart is an empathetic presence that can help shoulder the load and share the pain. Someone who understands the shock; feels the pain; embraces the anger.
One who has been intimate with that depth of loss.
They don’t offer answers, but exude empathy. They don’t spout solutions, but dispense compassion. They don’t formulate advice, but simply provide comfort.
Why does this presence help? Why do these people make all the difference in the world?
Because they know what you are going through. They have been there. They have the scars and yet survived. Bruised and battered, they are still standing.
They made it.
Now they are healing agents–contagious with divine hope. Viral carriers of His grace.
Channels of His heart.
One of the most beautifully potent truths about God is that He is “close to the broken hearted.” (Psalm 34:18) He is not allergic to our pain or squeamish about our agonies. As I walk right now with a broken heart, I cling to this reality.
Broken hearts, no matter how messy, don’t put Him off.
He intentionally chose to become like us, live in our world, walk in our reality and face our worst pain. Close.
So close, He let us break His heart.
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…” (Isaiah 53:3-4a)
All this so He could be–in and among us–that One who really knows. If your heart is broken He is close. Even closer than the pain.
“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” (Hebrews 4:)
When your soul aches there is just one truly safe place to run. The arms of the broken-hearted One who knows.
These arms stretched wide on a cross to restore broken dreams, renew broken promises, rebuild broken trust, redeem broken relationships…
…and repair broken hearts.