Break My Heart

There is something about crying for another person that makes us feel incredibly…connected.

I was at the grocery store. Lori had asked me to pick up some coffee and yogurt. When I came out, an elderly man was standing near his van, obviously bewildered. I guessed his age to be about 75.

Our eyes met. “I’m not having a good day,” he said.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

He explained how he had come from the grocery store to find that his van was locked. His daughter, who is in a wheel chair—the van is handicap accessible—must have gone to another store and locked the vehicle. His sunglasses had been in the shopping cart, but he couldn’t find them.

Believing he wouldn’t be allowed to take his groceries back into the store, he left them in the cart next to the locked van and went back to search for his sunglasses. As he came out, he saw someone stealing his groceries. The perpetrator managed to get away with milk and orange juice.

“I guess he needed it more than I did,” the man explained. His tone wasn’t one of anger; it was sadness.

He was more distraught over his sunglasses, which were specially made for his macular degeneration. “Someone must have taken those, too,” he said.

At this point, another store patron joined the conversation and he turned his attention to her. I got into my car and drove away. I wasn’t half way across the parking lot when I felt compelled to turn around. I parked the car and asked the man to wait as I went into the store.

I scanned every aisle but did not find his sunglasses.

I bought him more milk and orange juice. It cost $3.68. He thanked me, genuinely. His eyes dropped as I explained that I could not find his sunglasses. I wished him well and was on my way.

In the car, I burst into tears. How I wanted to pull out $100 or $200, $500—whatever the cost—to replace the sunglasses. But, I couldn’t. The economy was bad, our business was off and we simply didn’t have the money.

Lori and I yearn for God to use us to meet people’s needs, to be there at the precise moment they need rescuing. We’ve talked about it a lot but I had never become so emotional before. Why now?

“God, why can’t I stop crying about this?” I asked.

It was at that moment I realized what I was feeling; it was the heart of God. For some time, I had been praying, “God, break my heart for what breaks yours,” and now he was doing it.

God used my utter sadness to teach me about his heart. If I can be this distraught over a stranger losing his sunglasses and a few groceries, how must God feel, a God who knows us intimately and whose heart is infinite?

And, when I think of Jesus dying on the cross…how must it feel for God’s heart to break? Can it even be measured? God gave his only son—a son who willingly died—so that we could have life.

What love. What unwarranted, immeasurable love.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT)

I want to understand that kind of love. I want to be made complete.

From time to time I still think of that day at the grocery store. There is something about crying for another person that makes us feel incredibly…connected. Connected to God’s heart.

Pray that he would break your heart for what breaks his. I promise you: you will discover a connection to The Father the likes of which you have never known.

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Author Rodney Brandt

Rodney Brandt is passionate about his Christian faith and helping others discover the life God has intended for them.

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