For today’s book feature, we’d like to give you an excerpt from a classic. Quest for Love is the perfect companion to Elisabeth Elliot’s best-selling book Passion and Purity. Here she answers her readers’ questions regarding love issues like commitment, integrity, honor, and servanthood. Intertwined with the questioning letters are hopeful stories of how men and women discovered love through God’s direction.
So here are a few words of wisdom from the chapter entitled Hearts Are Breakable
Hudson Taylor’s story is evidence that he, like all the rest of us, was merely a clay pot – common stuff, flawed, fragile, yet in God’s skillful hands, useful – “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor 4:7)
Each revelation of our own eakness is God’s call to us to learn of Him, to find grae to help in time of need and to lay hold of His power to re-create, to redeem, to forgive and to mend.
Hearts do break. The same hearts are breakable over and over again. Letters come from couples who were engaged or very nearly engaged. One of them suddenly informs the other that they must break it off. The reason given, one which is thought to obviate all argument and dry all tears: “It’s the will of God.”
This is in some cases an honest explanation. Perhaps one has come to a new place of surrender to the Lord and discovered that he or she has made a serious mistake. Sincere Christians make many a mistake and surely it is better to rectify it than to proceed as though no mistake had been made. The engagement must come to an end. Better now than after the wedding.
There is another possibility. The person had not sought God from the beginning. He or she had entered into a relationship carelessly, with no thought of self-offering, prayer or waiting for a word from God. It was self-willed and irresponsible. Was “the will of God” the real reason or was it perhaps a failure of courage, an attraction elsewhere, the impulse of one governed primarily by feelings, a willful breach of contract – in other words, merely the will of the breaker/upper himself/herself?
“All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart” (Prov 21:2). Whatever the heart’s true reason may have been, we can be sure that God is never the author of confusion.
….after the heartbreak…
Is there anywhere to turn but to Him who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”? Broken hearts are not new to Him and His power is limitless, for He is the one who numbers the stars and calls them all by name. Have you noticed those two verses in Psalm 147 that juxtapose God’s concern for the wounded and His numbering and naming the stars? His compassion and power are mentioned together that we might understand that the Lord of the Universe is not so preoccupied with the galaxies that He cannot stoop to minister to our sufferings. He is the One who is in sovereign control of our lives and of every single thing that touches them. Nothing can pass through the fortress of His love.
He has a glorious purpose in permitting the heartbreak. We find many clues for this in Scripture, for example”
- That we may be shaped to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29)
- That we may learn to trust (2 Cor 1:8-9)
- That we may learn to obey (Psalm 119:67,71)
- That we may bear fruit (John 15:2)
- That we may reach spiritual maturity (James 1:4)
A broken heart is an acceptable offering to God. He will never despise it. We do not know what unimagined good He can bring about through our simple offering. Christ was willing to be broken bread for the life of the world. He was poured out like wine. This means He accepted being ground like wheat and crushed like grape. It was the hands of others who did the grinding and crushing. Our small hurts, so infinitely smaller than His, may yet be trustfully surrendered to His transforming work. The trial of faith is a thing worth much more than gold.