August 6, 2017
We all know it hurts to have your heart broken. And recent research from the University of California, Los Angeles, indicates that emotional pain may be more closely linked to physical pain than scientists previously realized. According to Naomi Eisenberger, lead author of the study, the distress from rejection registers in the same part of the brain that responds to physical pain, triggering similar sensations to, say, a broken bone. Which affirms that we know heartbreak causes deep wounds and hurt.
When our hearts are broken, we limp along, wondering how we ended up here and if we’ll ever make it to the other side of the pain.
If you’ve had any prolonged exposure to other humans, chances are pretty good that somewhere along the way, you’ve had your heart broken sometimes we recover and sometimes we don’t. And the older you become the deeper the wound. Maybe someone who promised your hand in marriage and left with little warning. They betrayed your trust or let you down when you needed them most. My heart is broken, I was left wondering how I ended up here and if I will ever make it to the other side of the pain. And perhaps worst of all, I feel utterly helpless and alone
But in Scripture it says that we aren’t alone in this. God himself—powerful and holy as he is—knows what it is to have his heart broken. I wonder if he’s sitting up in the clouds somewhere, watching with detached interest. I know he’s fully engaged with me pouring out his love, but I still having this huge gaping hole in my heart left by someone. When he made us, he could have created beings who were automatically loyal to him, who robotically returned his affection. But instead, he designed us with the will to decide how we’d respond to him, and in doing so, he opened his heart to profound love—and profound heartache.
So when we endure these heartbreaks ourselves—rejection, betrayal, abandonment—we don’t walk through them alone. God has walked that road himself. And in some mysterious way, when our hearts are broken, we’re given new insight into the very character of God.
The Old Testament is more than merely a historical narrative or a set of rules. Woven into the lining of each book, each story, is a common thread that reads more like a romance novel: God pursues his chosen people; they reject him and turn to less worthy loves; he keeps loving them anyway. Time after time, he does whatever it takes to win his loved ones back.
Ever since the beginning, we humans have been breaking God’s heart. Adam and Eve had the unparalleled opportunity to walk in unbroken closeness with God, yet they rejected the relationship he offered in exchange for a hollow promise (Genesis 3). Since then, people have continued to turn our backs on God’s love and faithfulness and human lives that have crossed their path. If anyone has felt the sting of rejection, it’s God.
God designed us with the will to decide how we’d respond to him, and in doing so, he opened his heart to profound love—and profound heartache.
The Sacredness of Betrayal
Our God is not a stranger to the pain of betrayal, either. In one of the most heartbreaking illustrations recorded in the Bible, the prophet Hosea lived out a devastating parallel to God’s relationship with his people. God instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, a woman who was compulsively unfaithful to him. Time after time she betrayed him, yet he consistently took her back, loving her against all logic, and, no doubt, the advice of his friends. God’s message to his people was clear: By giving their affection to false gods, they were breaking his heart. Their betrayal was a slap in the face of his unconditional love and forgiveness. And perhaps we aren’t so different today. We flirt with less worthy loves and continually break God’s heart with our betrayal. And still he takes us back, his love as fierce as ever.
A Glimpse into His Heart
The past few years I have been marked by some unprecedented heartbreak as I had to say good-bye to a very special person that made a very profound and devastating impact on my life and to a particular version of a dream ~I know what heartbreak looks like. I barely hold on to the what was a whole heart to one that in every part of my being has shattered in so many pieces that I don’t even know where to begin. Needless to say, this isn’t a road I would have chosen. But along the way, I try to cling to the hope that God just may redeem this heartbreak and, in the process, gives me a glimpse into who he is.
As I feel my heart is broken beyond repair, I know that nothing about this place is ordinary. I’m uniquely poised, at this very moment, to share an intimate part of God’s character. It’s the place of the broken heart, and it’s sacred ground. It’s the sacredness of a brokenheart.
Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?