Please Break My Heart . . . Really and Truly

It’s the drill, the sound if it screeching unnaturally close to your face.

Plus there’s the inescapable smell of sterilized tools and latex gloves.

There’s the tooth-shaped clock on the wall and the charts portraying healthy and not-so-healthy gums hanging here and there.

It’s the dentist’s office and I don’t love the place, but I had to be there for a filling—easy and routine, my dentist tells me.  He asks me how I’m doing today.  “Nervous,” I confess with a conversational giggle.

Still, I like him.  He’s pleasant and efficient.  His degrees and certifications adorn the walls, assuring me that he knows what to do.  He’s the kind of doctor I prefer, one who explains to you what’s going on and assumes you’re intelligent enough to understand.

So, he glances at my chart and sees the note written in large letters, “Needs extra anesthetic.”

He asks me about it and I tell him the gruesome story of another dentist starting to drill and me feeling it.  I tried to fake it and pretend like I was numb just for the sake of expediency, but my flinches and the pain in my eyes apparently gave me away.

When you’re numb, you ironically can’t help but feel it.  You feel that your face is heavy and your speech difficult.  They ask you to rinse and it takes effort.  It’s a simple filling and yet here I sit at my computer five hours later, feeling the last remaining bit of numbness around my mouth.  I’m a poster child for the old Bill Cosby standup routine about a dental patient.

Numbness takes time to fade, but thankfully it eventually does.  Truly, I’m grateful for the fact that two shots of medicine helped me not to feel the dentist’s drill.  It’s a comfort of the modern age that I’m happy to enjoy.

Yet, as I sit in the chair waiting for the drilling to start, I wonder if I’ve grown too numb in other areas of my life.  Unfortunately, the numbness of our hearts and minds doesn’t fade away as assuredly as a dentist’s shot.

I’ve been listening to a song by Hillsong called Hosanna and then for the first time today, I actually paid attention to the final lyrics:

Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into
Eternity

Similarly, the World Vision founder, Bob Pierce, famously prayed, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

So I wonder, is my heart too numb?  Has it become an unfeeling organ?  Or, if I feel God’s broken heart, do I just cry for a moment and then resume life as normal, patching up momentary sorrow with practicalities and emotional distance?

What actually breaks the heart of God anyway?

Surely it’s our sin, our breaking faith with God and causing Him disappointment and sadness (Numbers 5:6, Hosea 11:8b).

The Bible tells us King David was a man after God’s own heart. How so?  Was it his faith in God and his bravery against a giant?  Was it his heart of worship?  Or perhaps instead that after devastating sin of adultery and murder, David’s heart broke before God, hating his sin and desiring restoration and forgiveness (Psalm 51).

Are you grieved over your sin and the times you’ve broken faith with God?  Do you shake it off with excuses and acceptance, compromising because it’s “normal” and just “who you are?”  Or do you humbly bow at His feet and ask for His help and His forgiveness?  Do you hate your sin enough to do whatever it takes to change?

Of course it’s the lost, the “sheep not having a shepherd,” who stirred Jesus’ heart to compassion and self-sacrifice (Mark 6:34). 

Are you broken-hearted over those who do not know Jesus and moved to compassion and boldness by their presence in the world and in your community?

Then there are the hurting and needy.  When Israel complained that God didn’t seem overly impressed by their fasting rituals and legalistic religiosity, God told them exactly what kind of fasting He desired: freeing the oppressed, sharing bread with the hungry, caring for the homeless (Isaiah 58:6-7).

James agreed when he wrote, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27, ESV).
Is your heart broken by the orphaned, the widowed, the hungry, and the oppressed?  Do you do more than shed a tear at an Internet video and actually advocate for those who need a voice? 
We have a God whose heart is broken over sin, over unbelief, over the hurting, oppressed, defenseless and hungry.

What about our hearts?
It’s a strange thing, this spiritual numbness.  While a shot at the dentist’s office fades over time, our hearts respond in opposite ways to hurt.  We may begin compassionate and then grow numb from forgetfulness.  We may grieve over sin at first and then slowly grow accustomed to it.
Instead of needing extra doses of anesthetic, we must go to God continually and ask for more of His broken heart.
To listen to Hillsong’s Hosanna, you can click the link here or watch the video posted below on the blog:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

4 thoughts on “Please Break My Heart . . . Really and Truly

  1. lizolson says:

    It is a hard prayer to pray-when we really mean it. There are so many things that break the Father’s heart and sometimes we get a small taste of it. I am so thankful that we have a God that sees it all and has a heart big enough to hold it all.

    I know I have seen only a sliver of what breaks His heart. And I have prayed that prayer-and when it was ‘answered’ for me, initially I did not like it and wanted to take the prayer back. But after more time and thought, it made me so much more thankful for who God is.

    Thank you for this post!

  2. Bill Jones says:

    “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4
    It’s my understanding that the mourning Jesus speaks of is the broken-heartedness you wrote of. Thank you for a thought provoking reminder.

    • Heather C. King says:

      I read that recently, as well, which certainly gives new perspective to what Jesus was asking from us in the Sermon on the Mount. Thanks for stopping by and sharing those thoughts!

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