When the Heart Is Breaking
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."1
E. Kittredge wrote, "'I am trying to trust,' said one who had heard the earth falling on the casket which held the cold form of the dearest human friend, 'I am trying to trust,' and so I have seen a bird with a broken wing trying to fly. When the heart is broken, all our trying will only increase our pain and unrest. But if, instead of trying to trust, we will press closer to the Comforter, and lean our weak heads upon his sufficient grace, the trust will come without our trying, and the promised 'perfect peace' will calm every troubled wave of sorrow."
Unfortunately, resolving grief is not quite this simple. Learning to resolve grief and trust God is not an event—it is a process, a process that takes time. To feel deserted by one whom we love leaves us destitute. We can be angry at God for taking our loved one and even angry at the one who left us. Whether we should or shouldn't feel this way is beside the point. We feel what we feel. That's the reality and these feelings need to be expressed in healthy ways to understanding friends who lovingly accept us and our feelings. Then there is the unrelenting grief that tears the heart apart. Tears—gut level tears—need to be sobbed out over and over until all the pain is dissipated. Again, this takes time. Tears are God's gift to drain the pain of unrelenting grief. Until we resolve all these painful emotions, it can be very difficult for many, if not impossible, to feel God's loving presence.
Also, at times of loss the support of loving friends is also critical. Certainly, one may need to withdraw for a brief season but not for too long. Loving support from friends is critical at this time ... often for a long time.
Yes we need God but we also need people. One of the first things Jesus did at the commencement of his public ministry was to choose "twelve that they might be with him."2 And one of Jesus' hurts prior to his crucifixion was being abandoned by his disciples. If Jesus needed loving relationships, how much more do we?
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be a loving and supporting friend with whom grieving people feel safe to unburden the pain of their broken heart. And deliver me from the curse to give advice when all that is needed is a loving heart and a listening and understanding ear. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Psalm 34:18 (NIV).
2. Mark 3:14.