When Your Heart Is Broken For This Broken World


We are in one of those seasons, aren’t we? It seems like every single day, our world groans with the ache of even more heartbreaking news.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, senseless violence, extremism, racial tension, political division, unimaginable injustice.
It seems our world is just as broken as our hearts.

These recent days and weeks have continued to feel heavy.

What do we do with that pit in our stomachs, as we hear one more news report of crisis and tragedy?  And how do we, the people of God, reconcile our broken hearts with the belief that we have a loving and sovereign God?

Somewhere along the way, especially in the Bible Belt, we started hearing the message that Sunday School answers are what works best here.  Somehow, alot of us started believing that no matter what crushing heartbreak, deep sorrow, or sincere pain or fear we have deep inside…as we start to articulate words to describe our feelings, by the time those words come out of our mouths, they need to be tidied up and reconciled.

It can be devastating to feel like you’re not allowed to feel pain if you love Jesus…

Maybe you had a Sunday School teacher who pressed in a little deeper to “Sunday school answers.”  I pray that someone, somewhere told you that it is ok to be brutally honest with God.  

But in case that hasn't been your story, or in case you need to remember that again today, let’s rest in the fact that we have a God who knows our hearts better than we know ourselves.  He is able to discern the thoughts and the intentions of man, and when everyone else is looking on the outside, God already sees and knows what is deep inside our hearts.

I don’t think a God who tenderly holds our hearts in His hands, has ever expected that we’d mask our mourning, or our heartbreak, with words that belittle or try to tie up in a bow, the depth of what we are actually feeling.

My husband Eric has always said that “spiritual transformation comes when we can be real and authentic with our pain to God.”  We know it’s a “real relationship” with Jesus because we are seeking to be honest with Him… Not stuff our feelings, not turn away from Him, not turn to someone or something else, to numb those feelings with some coping mechanism of choice….

But when we go to Him in our most, raw and intimate moments to share our deepest, darkest pain, suffering, confusion, and fear, and we allow Jesus to be the one to catch it, to hear the honest cries of our hearts… we invite Him to be the source of all comfort.

Real spiritual transformation happens in us, in those brief, but beautiful moments that the Holy Spirit enters in and eases the pain, not of the situation, but in the tension in us, and meets our sorrow with hope.  The Holy Spirit enters those moments and brings to our remembrance, what we already know to be true, even if our sorrow tempts us to forget.

And the most amazing thing is, the God who put on flesh and walked among us in our broken world, has always known that we’d feel this way, and He tells us exactly what to do in those moments of heartbreak.

It’s been there all along…in the pages of our Old Testament, this Biblical prescription for what will ease the pain.

God’s Word calls it “lamenting.”

To lament, as it is in Scripture, is to be very real with God in our deep mourning and overwhelming sorrow, WHILE still also proclaiming the goodness of God and the hope found in Him!

It is both an honest, and hopeful, sorrow.

There is freedom in the real honesty of laying open these feelings before God… the drawing near to the heart of the Father, while being honest about those feeling in the darkest depths.  There is no glossing over… no skipping straight to the happy ending… “no church answers.”
There is permission to say that “things are not OK.”

It is a theme woven throughout the Old Testament, but even Jesus, Himself lamented.
By giving us a model of lamenting, God gives us a freeing invitation, to say what we feel in the darkest corners of our hearts.

In a lament, there is real honesty about true despair.

The difference is that it is framed within the context of the goodness of God, in a posture of recalling and remembering His character.

In Scripture, we see that David lamented. Job lamented.  Isaiah and Jeremiah lamented.  The Psalms are full of lamentations.

We learn that historically, certain lamentations, sometimes even became a habitual place of hope and comfort to return to… to remember.

In Scripture, the Hebrew word “zakar,” is often associated with lamenting.  It means, “to remember, to recall, to be brought to remembrance.”  This pivotal step in lamenting is what opens the door, for God to walk us through our pain and sorrow, and out of the other side with healing.

In the true spirit of a real, honest relationship with God, there is permission to be authentic, while never forsaking Him and even still, yet proclaiming His goodness!

There is freedom to be real, but then, an almost circular discipline or practice of reminding one’s self of what IS good: 

The Lord is good!  His character is good; He can be trusted, He is faithful, He is worthy…

Right in the midst of this, I will say that out loud. I will recall and remember.

There is freedom to both cry out in pain and desperation, and in the same breath, remember.

Even as our hearts break…even in the middle of deep pain, we can remember the faithfulness of God.

Even when there is still no resolution, we can recall and remember God’s character in the past, and allow that to invite peace in the present, and let that create trust for the future.

If you just look at the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah, who was often called the “patriot-poet,” opens with pages and pages of how brutally hard things really are… real suffering, weeping, captivity, destruction, darkness, desolation… real felt and honest pain.

Then, like a faint flicker of light:

In Chapter 3, verse 20:
“Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Thy faithfulness.
“the Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
Therefore I have hope in Him.”
What freedom there is for us!
There is context and a safe place for the believer to be real with our feelings…

but then a circular call to remember.

The word “lamentations” that is used, often means a dirge, elegy or mournful song.

When our hearts are breaking, what if we learned to sing a Lamentation Song…?

Scripture actually teaches us how.
In a true lament, just like a song, there can be “verses” or thoughts that allow for real honest confessions of hurt and pain, but then always, a circling back.

In the verses, there is freedom to be honest about true pain and sorrow,
but in the Lamentation song, we can always return to sing the chorus.

There is always a circling back to the proclamation…
to the familiar confessions, we know by heart.
Our hearts and our mouths begin to remember the words, and we can sing the chorus again.

The same mouth that cries out in pain and sorrow,
can remember again, and at the same time, breath out the words that are true even, still.

Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
…Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

May that be true of us in these days, Lord.
May the honest cries of our hearts turn in to a song of remembrance.

May our lamenting bring remembering,
and in our remembering, may we find rest, withyou.


You turned my lament into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
so that I can sing to You and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise You forever.
Psalm 30:11-12