A while ago I read an account of the time that Christian writer and missionary Floyd McClung spent working in Amsterdam’s ‘Red Light’ neighbourhood. Teams of intercessors would walk the streets praying for God to rescue those trapped in darkness and shame. One day the Lord whispered to one of the intercessors, “If only you had to witness some of the things I see, you would know how grieved I am”.
Reading through the book of Ezekiel recently, I was brought to a stop when I read the words ‘I was crushed’ in the New King James version of Ezekiel 6:9. Another Bible translation says, ‘I was broken’. I had to reread that verse to identify who was saying that they had been crushed or broken, and I realised then that God’s own heart had been torn by Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness.
All of us are aware in varying degrees of our own inner pain, but perhaps we rarely consider God’s pain. If we, who are created in God’s image, feel pain, how much more must the One who created us. From the very beginning of Creation, He must have felt the pain of rejection as Adam and Eve succumbed to the deception of Satan. He then watched the unfolding tragedy of human sinfulness from the first murder of Abel by his brother Cain to the overwhelming wickedness of human beings prior to the flood.
I wonder if you, like me, sometimes find it hard to hear one painful story after another reported on the daily news. We can always switch channels or press the off button if it’s too much for us. But I can’t comprehend how God must feel as He sees every act of abuse and violence, every life cut short in the womb, and Himself rejected continually moment by moment, twenty-four hours a day.
So, are we to feel sorry for God that He feels such pain over a world which still rejects Him, even after He gave His precious Son Jesus to make a way back to Him? I don’t believe He is looking for our pity, but I do believe that, amazingly, He wants to share His heart with us over that pain. Perhaps some would call that intercession, where we feel the groan of the Holy Spirit within us and raise our cries to God’s throne for righteousness, justice and mercy.
Jesus told His disciples in John 15 that He no longer called them servants, but friends, because He had made known to them all that He had heard from His Father. As He, God in our flesh, faced the agony of the cross in Gethsemane, He valued the nearness of those friends, even though they couldn’t stay awake. Psalm 25:14 tells us that the Lord confides in those who fear Him. He looks for those He can share His heart with, and who will be part of His answer to our broken world.
It’s right that we bring our broken lives to our loving Father. Perhaps we can also let Him share with us the things that break His heart.
Prayer: Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Amen.
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