Handling the heartache of a broken world

Over the past month, we’ve looked at the reality of life’s setbacks and detours and taken encouragement from the fact that God’s plans are bigger than our plans. But one of the other reasons why we experience setbacks in life is not quite as encouraging. 

Sometimes, our heartaches and struggles are simply part of the experience of living in a broken world. Now, I do not use the word “simply” to imply that these struggles are not important, deep, and powerful. They often are. Rather, I use the word “simply” because we cannot change the brokenness of the world around us, and it will impact us. 

From Genesis 3 and forward, the goodness of creation breaks. Death enters the world. Sin plagues our hearts and our lives. At times, our heartache comes from our own brokenness, as we experience the fallout from our own sin. Other times, heartache comes from outside of us, when we lose a loved one in a car accident or receive a cancer diagnosis. 

We cannot prevent pain in this life. 

So how do we handle it?

The building blocks of Christian discipleship will help us here. 

  • Confession is a necessary response to our heartache, bringing us into right perspective and relationship with God. 
  • Fellowship with other Christians helps us to grieve, lament, and find strength.
  • Worship – even when we don’t feel like it – lifts our souls before the Lord and brings intimacy with Jesus that is healing and needed. 
  • Study of God’s Word in Scripture brings perspective and truth that can soothe our spirits. 
  • Prayer may not change the situation we are in, but it will draw us closer to Jesus and change our hearts and our lives. 

Be encouraged by Scriptures like Psalm 34, wherein we are reminded that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 

May I share one more encouragement, which at first glance may sound discouraging? The more that the Holy Spirit works in us to make us more like Jesus, the more grieved we will be by the brokenness of the world. We begin to grieve as He grieves. We are humbled, and find ourselves hurting for people we will never meet, because the Lord loves them and they are hurting. Embrace this holy grief. Bring the heartache to God in prayer.

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director