Lutheran Women of Australia
When God “Breaks” Your Heart
Earlier this year, before international travel became the stuff of daydreams, I made it to East Indonesia to visit Compassion Australia projects and my tiny but sunshiny sponsor child. Compassion Australia is an International Christian charity and child development organisation.
Before leaving, I asked God to butterfly-cut my heart. As may have come across in the last few devotions, this year has been tiring on my spirit. Caring had become exhausting and I felt my heart harden to the needs of people in my life. A ‘butterfly’ cut sounds pleasant enough but is the process whereby meat is flayed open – cut almost in two, but not quite. I needed God to make a decent incision, to leave my heart impressionable and open to the experience. I knew it might be painful, but I refused to let my exhaustion, my self-preservation, keep me from having an impacting trip.
On one of the first days in Indonesia, our group visited a rural church. We were greeted warmly, endowed with gifts and presented with a feast of local foods. Babies were thrust into our laps, old women grinned toothlessly and kissed us on the cheek, young couples brought us home-grown fruits. Shoulder to shoulder, we worshipped together and sang some age-old anthems (you know the ones from the orange All Together book) in English and Indonesian. At the end of our time together, the pastor of the church became very emotional and asked us to pray for a young seventeen-year-old girl in their community who was dying of leukaemia. In the time that followed, I have never felt the presence of God so strongly, so sweetly. We wept and prayed – every heart united in the Spirit although we could not understand each other. For everyone in the room, you couldn’t help but think God was orchestrating a miracle.
As our group drove three hours home that evening, we were informed that the young girl had gone home to be with Jesus and, my heart – open and vulnerable – broke. But God, who is tender-hearted and ever-kind, consoled me in the days that followed. The words of 2 Corinthians 7:10-13 in The Message encourage me. When God breaks your heart, we can never regret that kind of pain. It drives us closer to his heart, we become more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible, more pure of heart (my paraphrase).
I will never regret opening my heart to love, even when it asks of me, even when it hurts. I left Indonesia a little rawer, a little softer, my heart tenderised and a little wounded, and that is a good thing. He loves us and he’s refining us – it’s worth it and all we need do is let him.