when God breaks your heart

There it was glaring out from the computer screen.  The words I never thought I would see.  I had been so confident in how God had directed me.  For a moment I could not breathe.  “We regret to inform you that…” I couldn’t read the rest of the email. The tears suddenly gushing down my face had obscured my vision. The email shattered my dreams. My heart, that desired so badly to serve God in this particular way, crumbled into pieces.

I could not understand how this had happened. I prayed so hard.  I prayed all of the right things “… God, Your will be done. God, give me a desire for the choice you want me to make, and take away all desires for the other options. God, confirm this if it is your will. God, shut the doors that I do not need to enter. God, I want this badly, but I want you more … ” He took away my desires for every option but one.  He confirmed over and over again that this was what He had for me.  He closed every door and window except for this one.

And then he closed this one.

What do you do when God breaks your heart?

The pain was so great that I couldn’t bear it alone. Somehow I found myself driving, brushing away tears as they clung to the edge of my sunglasses.  Swallowing sobs, I tried to concentrate on driving, but my only thought was, “Oh God, what now?”

I ended up at the home of a lifelong friend.  “Why,” I asked angrily, “Does God tell you something and then all of a sudden change his mind?”

“God is truth.”  She said, opening her Bible.  “Everything God tells you is truth.  Remember, He sees things different than you do. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.’” (Isaiah 55:8)

Why does God break our heart?

1. Because our hearts lead us astray.

I am a planner,  a card-carrying member of the list-bound masses. We are very goal oriented…. It is how we make it through the day. So when God gives us a future goal, we work toward that point as if our life depended on it (because we think it does). And somewhere along the way, the goal can become our god. And God becomes an afterthought that we occasionally ask to bless our efforts. And just like that, our hearts have led us astray. “The heart is deceitful…who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

2. Because God is a jealous God.

Often, the goal becomes our God. We make it into an idol and organize our life in worship to it. Whether it is a relationship, career path, academic degree, status symbol, or to-do list we are determined to complete, when that goal becomes the ruling authority in our lives, it is an idol. And God is a jealous God. He wants to be number one in our hearts and lives. Because He is God – that is His right. That goal or list may be your security blanket, but it is powerless to save you from the sentence of your own sin. “You shall have no other gods before me…for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:3-5)

3. Because God loves us.

In breaking our hearts, God is rescuing us from ourselves. God breaks our hearts, not to hurt us or because He enjoys our pain – no! God breaks our hearts when we have become so focused on some goal, rather than on Him. He breaks our heart because it is the only way He can save us from ourselves. He breaks our heart because it is the only way to remove a dream that is not His best for His daughter.  “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Prov. 16:9)

4. Because God is seeking a relationship.

In my limited human understanding, it seemed like God had lied. Yet Scripture makes it clear that God is incapable of lying and that everything God said is true.

So had I heard wrong? Had I misunderstood God for all these years? No…and Yes.

When I finally stopped crying, I remembered that God had set me on this path, but had not promised the endpoint. In my itty-bitty human mind, taking a path only had one outcome….reaching the goal. But God is not bound by my small-mindedness. He guided me to work toward the goal, but He never promised I would achieve it, I just assumed… “For my thoughts are not your thoughts… declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) Many times God may lead us down a certain path toward an unknown door.  We, of course, are focused solely on the door at the end of the journey.  When we reach the end, we may find that the door is locked.  God did not lie. We may be distracted by the human goal, but God was leading us toward an eternal goal – a closer relationship with Him.

Then how are we supposed to plan?

Does this mean that plans are evil and we cannot make lists?

No. It means we should not structure our lives in worship of the “Almighty List.” It means never setting a goal above God in our hearts. It means we are to make plans in humility, submitting every hope, dream and earthly goal to the Lordship of Christ. We must hold the things of this earth loosely. Our only immovable goal should be God Himself.  (James 4:13-16)

What do you do when God breaks your heart?

When God breaks your heart….hand Him the pieces.

Because He is good and trustworthy and He will always do the best thing.  God is good, and even though my dream was dead, my heart rested securely in the arms of my Savior. Looking back, I see now that God had to break my heart to remove that dream so that He could guide me to a far better dream. God was acting in my best interest, even thought it hurt. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” (Prov. 3:5-6)