This Thing Called Heartbreak

No one escapes heartbreak.

Beginning when we are very young, our hearts get broken on a regular basis. It often happens as a result of shattered hopes or life-altering losses.

But the message of the Christian faith is that joy can overcome sorrow, and that we can find healing for our heartbreak. As this happens, we are able to bear witness to God’s grace and goodness in a world where these qualities often seem hard to find.

One of my favorite images in the Bible comes at the end of the book of Revelation. We are promised that one day, “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

St. John the Divine, who penned these words, was one of the greatest of all Christian communicators. His words brought much-needed light to Christians living through the darkness of persecution by the Romans.

The Reverend George Matheson, a blind preacher in nineteenth century Scotland, was another bearer of this light. When he became the pastor of St. Bernard’s Church in Edinburgh, there was an old woman in that parish who lived in a cellar. The squalor was miserable, but it had been that way so long that it seemed normal to her. Then one day an elder from the church went to visit the woman, and he discovered that she had moved to a humble but clean and bright attic apartment.

“I see you have changed your living quarters,” the elder said.

The lady replied, “Ay, I have. You can’t hear George Matheson preach and live in a cellar.”

When we come together for worship this Sunday, we will bring our heartbreak with us. That’s inevitable because we can never leave it completely behind. However, we can learn how to carry our heartbreak better, and that will make the difference between living in darkness and living in light.

With love, warmth, and anticipation,

Evan Howard,