When your heart is broken
We spent a few happy days away last year, in the picturesque town of Mildura. I brought back a little momento from there but it wasn’t a souvenir; neither was it an ornament for my mantlepiece. The keepsake I bought in Mildura resides in my kitchen and I use it every day. Have I piqued your curiosity sufficiently?
Here’s what it looks like:
Yes, my keepsake is a little bottle of Olive oil. What made it unique was its dimensions. Petite. Just right for my ‘little’ hands. I'd not seen one so small before, not in Adelaide nor anywhere else, and I've continued to use it. I find its cute size is just right for my fingers, much like I enjoy the petite steering wheel in my “baby car” compared to the big steering wheel in what I call Shan’s ‘Daddy car’. When the oil runs out, I buy a large bottle of Olive oil which I use to fill up the little one. "Small" suits me well.
One day some weeks ago, I was dismayed to discover that the plastic piece on the top of the bottle was broken. Oh dear! Now, I had to be extra careful when I tipped the bottle, in case too much oil flowed out. A trifle annoying. To my relief, my hand quickly got used to holding the bottle at exactly the right angle.
There’ve been times in my life when I've found that something far more signficant was broken—like my heart. (Have you experienced that?) I recall seasons when the pain was unbearable. I thought then that I’d never recover, a ship’s masts that has been torn by cruel winds, or a beautiful cutglass vase smashed into smithereens. During those seasons, I've clung onto God for dear life, just making it through one day at a time and one moment at a time. Wouldn’t it be simple if we could experience God’s grace through a life of ease rather than through our seasons of suffering?
The truth though is that the painful seasons are the times I’ve experienced God’s love in fullest measure. Times when I’ve discovered for a fact that a loving God did exist and that He cared for me. That no matter what happened, Jesus was sufficient and always would be. It was during such a time that Jesus became my Treasure. One day last week I realised with surprise that it was actually a good thing that the plastic top of my little bottle was broken. You see, it made pouring oil from the larger bottle into the little one much easier. Nothing obstructed its flow anymore.
It’s the same when I've nursed a broken heart. The cracks in my heart have permitted God’s love to seep in. How blessed it’s been to experience His joy in the middle of difficult circumstances, His love when the world has turned its back on me, His peace when the storm clouds darkened, and His Presence when I sorely needed it, the balm of soothing oil that healed my broken heart.
CS Lewis reminds us of this truth. “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Has God shouted out to you lately? What did He say? I pray that His love will flood your broken heart today and that His peace will permeate each crack. Soon you will be a stunning masterpiece of God’s grace and beauty. And our God of awe and majesty and holiness will be glorified through your life.
"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him." Psalm 91:15,16