Years ago in the thrall of worship I would pray, somewhat naively, “Break my heart Lord with the things that break yours.” I am only now starting to appreciate the gravity of that prayer. In this past week I have had the honour of sitting with some very broken people and know a bit of the heart break for which I so glibly prayed.
Yesterday I spent the morning with a young woman who had been sexually abused since age three. Several years ago she had lived on the cold streets of Saint John for nearly two years. The streets were safer to her than any place she had yet been! As a result of nearly two years on the streets her health is bad for someone her age. She suffers from terrible arthritis and is in constant physical pain. Usually she copes with all this but occasionally she medicates with rum. Yesterday she ‘was in her cups’ and feeling particularly sad. I met her and we picked up some breakfast and coffee and went home to chat with Linda (my wife). She is nudging slowly toward trusting in Jesus but trust comes exceedingly slowly for her. We listened as she semi-coherently poured out her pain and shame. There was little we could do but feel her pain with her. I have hopes to connect her more and more with the gentle folks of Up Town Church. They are tremendous agents for healing life’s hurts. I know this from firsthand experience.
The other day I met with one of ‘the characters’ of the Saint John street scene. She has long been a fixture. She leads a very addictive life. Several months ago she suffered yet another loss and she is devastated. Feelings of loss and overwhelming grief come in tsunami like waves over her. She came to me crying inconsolably. As someone who sees his role as consoling people from time to time, I do not manage inconsolable very well. I could only say, over and over, “I know.” And feel a sense of her deep wracking grief. She left as sad as when she came and yet she like my other friend was so grateful for my ministry.
I console myself with the promise that “Weeping may tarry in the night but joy comes in the morning.” And “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” My heart does indeed break for these women and in that I know the fellowship of my Saviour but more than that I know his healing as He gently reminds me that the position of saviour has already been filled. He does not want me to carry burdens which he has already carried to Calvary. I don’t know how people get through life without Him!
In this ‘veil of tears’ we mourn but only until morn. We work as agents of the Consolation of Israel and recommend Him to a hurting world but one day that new day will dawn. The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.”