Rejection: The Old Testament is more than merely a historical narrative or a set of laws. Woven into the lining of each book is the common thread of God’s love. 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.
Adam and Eve had the unparalleled opportunity to walk in undisturbed fellowship with God, yet they rejected the relationship God offered in exchange for a false promise (Genesis 3). Since then, people have continued to turn their backs on God’s love and faithfulness. Jeremiah recounts the way God aches over our rejection of His love: “They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife” (Jeremiah 31:32 NLT). If anyone has felt the sting of rejection, it’s God and His son.
Betrayal: 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 (See also Ezekiel 6:9). Their betrayal was a slap in the face of His unconditional love and forgiveness. We’re not much different today, either. We flirt with less worthy loves and continually break God’s heart with our betrayal. Still He forgives and takes us back, His love as fierce as ever.
Abandonment: When we find ourselves left alone by someone we love, there’s comfort in knowing that Jesus has endured that kind of abandonment too. At the end of Jesus’ time on earth—arguably the darkest hour of his life—he was abandoned by his closest friends, the men he’d spent the bulk of the last 70 weeks of his life with. As he was pouring out his grief to God, they were off napping. When he was being arrested, they scattered. Jesus knows the agony of abandonment.
The past few months I’ve had the opportunity to minister to some of the most wonderful believers with unprecedented heartbreaks. My heart has identified with them and I have endured a loss of a particular person and a particular version of a dream that was so dear to me. I don’t know what your heartbreak looks like—if you’re barely holding the fragile pieces together or if everything has shattered in so many places you don’t even know where to begin. When you feel like your heart is broken beyond repair, remember that God is the Healer of Broken Hearts.
Let’s look at God’s promises to mend broken hearts. In addition to Psalms 147:3 which we read last week, there are many more in Psalms.
The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. [That includes brokenheartedness!]
There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.
6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.
13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
The nature of the heart is to make decisions, and commit to an action. It contains the power of the will. Once the mind has concluded its deliberation, the heart decides and commits to a willful action. The mind is directed to carry out the will, and it continues to learn, record, imagine, and deliberate in the process. The mind can be in turmoil, but we endeavor to avoid a tempest in the heart. When the heart is broken we may find it difficult to make decisions and commit to proper actions (Job 17:11-16). That’s when our resolve to do the will of God will provide the only secure footing we have. We must guard, with close attention, what resides in the sacred place of our hearts.
Dreams, goals and plans are made in the heart. So when our hearts are broken it is hard to focus on or figure out what lies ahead. It may be a struggle to put forth a diligent effort, to trust and commit to the instructions of God’s Word, but that’s exactly what we need to do (Psalms 107:20). Deliverance comes by remaining faithful to the truth. Faithfulness is a constant decision to continue to act according to a committed standard we established before. Decision and commitment happen as a function of the heart. Praising God will help reestablish our heart and fix them on the truth once again (Psalms 57:4; 108:1; 112:7).
By Wayne Clapp