“Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” Psalm 51:16-17 MSG
I’ve lived in Amarillo, TX all my life. The majority of that time was spent on one side of town. I never noticed the homeless shelter on the north side. Not until I began working there. At first I was afraid. A man dug in the trash can and I strolled by with my fancy coffee. A woman yelled her schizophrenic babble at me from across the street. I hung my head in shame and pretended not to see or hear her.
Nearly two years have passed since I began working with the homeless. With time, fear has turned to empathy. They aren’t that different than me. Maybe they lost a job, or suffer from a disability, and are no longer able to work. Maybe they struggle with mental illness. Maybe they experienced homelessness from childhood and are fearful of functioning in any other environment. The reasons a person becomes homeless are as numerous as the individuals themselves. They all have their own reasons for being there, and often I find that in reality, I am only one step away from being in their shoes.
You would think the most painful part about being homeless would be hunger, or the chill of the concrete on a cold winter night. Perhaps it would be the tiredness of their legs as they push a grocery cart containing their entire life belongings. That’s what I would think, but I was wrong. Every homeless person I have met says the most painful part of being homeless is being ignored. People walk by them and turn their face. They act as if they don’t hear them.
We think they don’t care, but they notice and it hurts.
The homeless are often heart shattered lives that we choose to ignore.
I wonder if you have ever felt that way? That your heart shattered life goes unnoticed?
It seems that no one cares about what is going on with you. Even if they did care, they couldn’t do anything about it.
I don’t know that there is any more isolating illness than depression. The very situation of being depressed can render you paralyzed. Ashamed to reach out. Afraid to tell others what it going on. Depression often exists in complete and total isolation.
Psalm 51:17 tells us that heart shattered lives – ready for love – don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
But what if your heart is not ready for love? I’m going to take a risk here and say that a heart not ready for love, is not yet completely shattered. It is a heart hardened against the Lord and His grace. Hardened in a way that not man can soften. Only the Lord can soften a heart, but He will not do so forcefully.
Depression has a way of hardening our hearts. Because the hurt runs so deep, it is difficult to keep it open and vulnerable to be hurt more. And even though we know the Lord is not out to hurt and wound us, when we feel alone and afraid, it can seem as if He is hurting us simply by not choosing to release us from our internal turmoil.
It is difficult to let a heart shatter when you are uncertain if the pieces will ever be picked up. Not knowing if they will ever be brought back together again is terrifying. On more than one occasion I have had friends afraid to cry because once they let that first tear drop, they don’t think the tears will ever stop. If they soften their heart enough for the Lord to come in, will He do what He promises? Is there really a love that can come in and fill the voids and gaps left by days, years, or even months of brokenness?
When a heart shatters on the floor we can attempt to pick up the pieces. We can attempt to hide it from God. We can attempt to escape from His love. But we cannot escape God’s notice. The fear that God will leave our hearts shattered forever is simply not true. This kind of heart, a heart that seeks the Lord, and allows itself to be broken by Him cannot even fancy an escape from God. He will be there in our pain when we allow ourselves to shatter and choose to seek Him. This is a promise of His word. It is not conditional on our actions or our ability to perform. It simply is grace.
The masks that we wear in attempt to hide do not please Him. The most flawless performance of perfection does not impress Him.
Shattering – now that impresses Him. If you ever questioned if He loves you, all you really have to ask yourself is can you shatter? If you can shatter at His feet, then you are loved.