Sometimes, my heart begins to break in two. My throat hurts. My face burns and becomes furrowed. My stomach sinks and my chest and aches so much I think it might cave in. My mind starts just falling away and spinning out of control until I remember to grab onto the robe of Jesus and just wait there, on the ground, and pray. Praying like crying. Like begging.
Since becoming a Mom, this experience happens most often when I hear or see or think about any child being hurt. Children being ridiculed and belittled by their parents, bullied by peers, treated as useless and unimportant, sold as slaves or into prostitution, being beaten or emotionally or spiritually abused, being molested, being killed, being ripped out of the womb and thrown into the trash. There are times when I have to stop reading the news because my heart cannot take more. The world’s total disregard for the inherent, God-given value of every child makes me so very angry and sorrowful.
Recently, I was driving along on errands and got to thinking about it. I was sensitive to it before, but now that I have my own children, it can sometimes weigh on me like a heavy burden of pain and anger. I’ve attempted to gird up my inner strength and tell myself: “Do something about it! Find a way to help!” But in the face of the overpowering ocean of pain and tragedy, I wither and find myself saying “I don’t have it in me – enough love or strength to withstand the exposure to that tragedy.” And also “what can I do to make a difference?” Half truth is deadly.
It’s true that I don’t have enough in me. I would rather hide my head and pretend that it isn’t happening, tucking myself away in my calm and happy home. But I can’t! The fact that the Spirit of God is in me compels me to have His heart for the poor and oppressed. What I feel nearly destroys me, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the pure passion, fierce love, holy rage, and complete power that Christ has for those children. His thoughts of them are so vast, they cannot be numbered. His love for them so deep and pure. And the thing about Jesus: He CAN do something about it. He does, and He will.
I pray that the same Spirit that allows me to feel a small portion of God’s heart – the holy sorrow – will fill me with courage, and the confidence that Jesus is near to the brokenhearted as well as the poor and the oppressed. The Christ that will come back with eyes of fire, burning with holy power to destroy death in all it’s forms, and save the children from their oppressors. And that through His people, He saves them even now. In short, Jesus loves the little children. It’s no fluffy wishy washy love, but a love that is full of power, compassion, and movement.
As for me, knowing this has given me the peace to turn over my burden of sorrow to Jesus, while at the same time, allowing myself to experience His heart in this way. I will be honest – there are times where I still have to stop what I’m doing and just cry and heave in my heart. But now it has become not only a heartbreaking experience, but a bittersweet one. Sweet because I know that God does have a part for me in His rescue plan for His children. It’s not clear to me what it is in full, but for now He leads me to pour into my own children and teach them compassion among all the other things of God. He leads me to willingly expose my heart to the painful reality of these tragedies; to remind myself of the more potent reality of His love and sovereignty; to learn to rely on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to teach me how to respond.
Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. – Isaiah 1:17
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:16