I cry often; not for myself, not because I am weak, not even because my life is miserable. I am quite blessed, really! I am not a crybaby. In the first half of my life I seldom cried, careful to maintain a distance from the sorrows of others. These days, I find tears in my eyes just about every day for the broken hearts in the flock God has entrusted to my care. Hidden in the corners of the world where we live many are sad. I see them more clearly now than I once did. There are the elderly that I visit who are often so lonely. I visited a nursing home yesterday where I found an old saint confused about where she was. I sat by her bed, held her hand, and we cried together as I read the Word to her. There are those whose sins have crushed them. A letter from a young man in jail crossed my desk and as I read his words of regret and remorse, I cried with him. There are those for whom the future is frightening. A teenage boy called, his voice full of emotion as he described his life, and I felt his angst, my heart moved for him. There are those who are in crisis. Another person spoke with me about her struggle with anxiety, of trying to find her way through a really hard time, and yes… tears welled up, again!
Do you let the pain of this broken world touch your heart? Are you willing to empathize, willing to enter into the grief? Yes, tears can be a cheap substitute for action. We can choose to wear our emotions openly but never really commit to making a difference. Or, we can weep with those who weep and share their burden, prayerfully and with compassionate action. Jesus refused to stand apart from those who suffered. He was a strong man who was not afraid of tears and sorrow. That famous little verse in John tells us that when He saw the grief of Mary and Martha and stood with them at the tomb where their brother’s body lay that He wept! Then, He prayed! Life was restored!
When we see people around us with eyes that see like Jesus’ eyes, we will be moved. Compassion is a powerful thing, compelling us to make a difference. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, a ministry cares for millions of suffering and poor people, wrote this prayer on the flyleaf of his Bible when we first found himself confronted with terrible poverty. “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” Out of his willingness to weep came a vision, and from that vision, emerged a mission that is changing lives.
One day Jesus and his friends were making the trip from Jerusalem to Galilee. He chose to take them through Samaria, a place generally avoided by the devout Jews of that era. John says that at Noon, He sat down near a well and sent the men into a village to find food. While he was there a woman whose life was broken, whose heart was bruised, showed up. He saw her real need, shared the promise of living water with her and changed her life. When His friends returned they were full of questions, seeing only the obvious, not the hidden need. Jesus challenged them. “As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time! “ (John 4:35, The Message) See the need, men, and get involved!
See the need! Some say that ‘ignorance is bliss,’ and perhaps, in one sense, it is. If we choose to avert our eyes from need we can avoid shedding tears of compassion. But, is this God’s way? Jesus quoted Isaiah as He revealed His Messianic mission. One line stands out and it is not about great glory, but of profound empathy. ” The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me… He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.” (Isaiah 61:1, NIV) We are like Him when we weep with those who weep.
Here’s the word from the Word, a promise of healing.
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” (Psalm 69:1-3, NIV)
“But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.” (Psalm 69:13, NIV)
“The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.” (Psalm 69:33, NIV)
Healer Of Broken Hearts
Is your life full of heartaches and sadness?
Are your dreams all shattered and torn?
There is One who through mercy and suff’ring,
For you ev’ry sorrow has borne.
Do the threads of your life seem so tangled,
That you wish you had never been born?
There is One who is willing to help you,
He knows ev’ry sorrow you’ve borne.
He’s the healer of broken hearts,
He’ll mend your shattered dreams.
He’ll pick up the threads,
Of your broken life,
And weave them together again.
To your soul He’ll bring peace and joy,
A Friend in need He’ll be.
The Healer of broken hearts,
Is Jesus of Galilee.
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