Little Zoe told us that her heart broke into two pieces for Jesus at church tonight.
Zoe is three years old, and having a mother who is a pastor and a father who is an author and a self-proclaimed God nerd has definitely informed her theology at a young age. When asked what God looks like, she beams and says, She has a big, beautiful face, and she announced on her birthday that Jesus likes birthday parties. I hate the thought of her feeling so sad that she feels like her little heart is broken, but the fact is that broken hearts are a part of life.
When I was a teenager, I thought my heart was broken when the young man of my dreams showed up at church with another girl on his arm. When my new car got hit by a shopping cart and when I lost my part-time job to a more experienced full-time worker, I thought I’d die of a broken heart. But as I grew in experience and maturity, I saw what real broken hearts look like, both in my own life and in the lives of others.
While we lived in Florida, I was privileged to work as a volunteer in the counseling ministry at my church. I worked mostly with caregivers and women who were struggling with relationship issues. Two women in particular stand out in my memory as examples of the truly broken hearted.
I’ll call the first lady Jane. She was single and had devoted her life to caring for her mother. As her mother’s life drew to a close, Jane’s heart was filled with anger, bitterness, and pain. She felt as if life had passed her by while she cared for her mother and that others who should have helped her had left her to carry the burden alone. She also feared a life full of emptiness and lack of purpose after her mother left this life. She couldn’t envision what her life would be like when she was no longer a caregiver.
The second lady who I’ll call Ann was the victim of a lifetime of abuse. She told stories that would probably be considered too far-fetched for reality TV, and just when I thought I’d heard it all, she shared another horror story. For months we cried and prayed together and tried to find and repair the pieces of her broken heart.
Both Jane and Ann went through heart-breaking Good Friday experiences. They huddled, like the Disciples on Saturday, in a locked room, fearful and anxious and hopeless. But then Sunday came, and they experienced the power of the Resurrection. Like Mary in the Garden, they heard Jesus call their names. They knew He recognized them, that He knew their pain, and that He cared.
By the time her mother died, Jane had been to the Garden with Jesus and had experienced His healing touch. Instead of a dour person with a teary face and angry eyes, she blossomed into a beautiful woman who shared her loving heart with everyone she met.
And Ann, after many trips to the Garden for healing, emerged from the suicidal wreck that had been her life and became a source of love and light to those who knew her. She found a surprising gift for humor and constantly entertains her friends while her deep faith inspires and encourages them.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me [Jesus], because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; Luke 4:18
18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance. 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:18-20
After I read Christian’s post about Zoe, I sent her a message via Facebook, and it’s also my Easter message to anyone whose heart is broken in two pieces: Hold on, Sweetie. Sunday’s coming.