Seems an odd post title on this day before Valentine’s Day, doesn’t it? Before the vision of a lonely and dejected young woman, surrounded by chocolates she bought for herself, settles uncomfortably in your mind, read on!
I ran across a verse in Joel this week that has been reading itself over and over in my mind:
Joel 2:13 NIV
intransitive verb: to perform an act of tearing or splitting; to become torn or split
transitive verb: to tear as a sign of grief or despair
Before we “rend” our hearts, they are what they are: simultaneously, an organ pumping blood throughout our bodies and the “seat” of our emotions, our very soul. They are for us and focused on us. We may love others, but it’s only with the capacity that is allowed from a “me-perspective” heart. After we tear our hearts before God, He first does that healing work, but then, something else happens. It reminds me of this story in Matthew 14:
16Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18“Bring them here to me,” he said. 19And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Isn’t it the same with our hearts? When we rend our hearts – tear and break them before our Father – we allow Him to put His healing and miraculous touch on them, moving them out of their limited “me-perspective”, and using them to love in ways, and to lengths, which are not humanly possible.
So, on this day before Valentine’s Day, I consider the overwhelming beauty of a rended – a broken – heart, and how, through it, this one day on the calendar has the potential to move far beyond the heart-shaped box of chocolates to reach a broken world.