My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17
Most people never forget or forgive the first person who broke their hearts no matter how long ago. They remember the date, time, and place where their hearts were broken. In some cases, old emotional wounds can hurt future relationships.
What do you do when God breaks your heart? Where do you go for emotional therapy? How does one process emotional pain while trying to have a good relationship with the Lord?
In Psalm 51, David pours out his soul before the Lord in response to the pain he endured because of his sin with Bathsheba. God broke David’s heart and killed the son that he conceived with Bathsheba. When the child became sick, David prayed and mourned and begged God to heal him. He fasted and wept bitterly before the Lord to no avail. The child still died. In addition, his son Amnon raped his sister Tamar, and Absalom killed Amnon for raping his sister.
Amid the emotional pain and brokenness he experienced, David teaches us three things we should do when God breaks our hearts. First, we should confess our sins to God. Unlike other people who may break our hearts because they’ve lost interest in us, God breaks our hearts because of our sinful desires or selfishness.
Our hearts are often broken when we experience pain and suffering we expected God to prevent. David begged God to heal his dying son, though it was because of him the son was dying. In some cases, God allows some people to feel the pain of a broken relationship because they sinned against their spouses. Or, God may allow other people to bear the burden of a fail business or go through the shame of foreclosure and bankruptcy because of the bad choices they made.
Confession allows us to come clean before God so he can begin to restore us. There is also an emotional therapeutic component to confession. Without confession, there cannot be forgiveness. Our broken hearts can only be mended when we are relieved of the guilt and shame of our sins through forgiveness.
Second, we have to pray to God to release us of our pain. The worst thing we can do when God breaks our hearts is to run away from God or become angry at God. When emotional chaos and destruction invaded David’s life, he turned to God in prayer.
When my mother died, I turned to God in prayer because I was hurt, and my heart was broken. No one else could have mended my brokenness. Through prayer, I was able to get the emotional and spiritual therapy I needed. A believer can be as angry or infuriated at God as he or she wants to be in prayer. There were times when David simply lashed out at God in prayer. There is a name for that type of prayer. It is called the prayer of lament. God does not resent having us unload our emotional issues on him in prayer. He invites us to bring our burdens to Him in prayer (Matthew 11:28-30).
Third, David teaches us that we have to worship God when he breaks our hearts. In 2 Samuel 12:20, we are told, “Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.” This was after spending days in fasting and praying for God to heal the child.
Worship allows us to release the pain of a broken heart back to God. It is only when we lift our hands to God in worship that we can get the help we need. Worship is a statement of defiance that though God breaks us, yet we will hope in him. That level of trust leads to restoration and reparation from God. When we worship God in our brokenness, we invite his strength to be made perfect in our weakness.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, may those with a broken and contrite heart, turn to you in their moment of despair so the joy of their salvation can be restored.