By Practical Christianity Foundation, (PCF)
Can a broken heart be healed? Yes! But most of us would like to ask why do we even come anywhere close to having a broken heart in the first place? Fair enough!
Really! Why a broken heart? A broken heart is the bitter fruit of disappointment. Disappointment with what? Or is it, disappointment with who?
It turns out often enough, our hearts are broken when we are disappointed with something or someone. Most of us would find this description acceptable because it points to something or someone other than ourselves as the source of our disappointment. Let us not hasten to exclaim, "There we go again! Blame the victim!" Wouldn't we want to discover the real source of our disappointments so that we can appropriately and effectively deal with it and keep our hearts from slipping into a debilitating brokenness?
Cutting to the chase, disappointment occurs when experience fails to match expectations. So, disappointment is our own emotional response to discontentment when our own experience fails to match our own expectations. Therefore, a broken heart results from a disappointment spawned by failed expectations. In that case, there is nothing or no one else to point to, except ourselves. Therein lies the root cause of our disappointments which thrust us into broken hearts unless we possess God-like authority and resources for handling the business of life.
Oftentimes, we confuse faith with expectations and view God's promise as God's indebtedness to us. So, we expect from God what we believe we deserve because it seems to us He made a specific promise to us. Motivated and assured by our own expectations, and, driven by our own inborn confidence, we lunge forward with all our might to get what we think is rightfully ours. We think it is out there for us to grab. And when our experience falls short of our sure expectation, we quickly and without hesitation pass our verdict upon God as being unfair, silent, or uncaring. Instead of examining our own behavior and manner of justifying and pursuing our wants, we conclude that God failed us.
Viewing matters from the perspective of our expectations, our conclusions are logically correct. That is not to say they are true. But they are logical. God promised, we expected, we didn't get it, He didn't keep His promise. So, we are disappointed with God, our hearts are broken. Yes! We are disappointed and feel justified about it! Is that it? No! By no means.
Here is the hilarious aspect of the foolishness of our disappointments, especially those disappointments which plague our hearts due to failed expectations. if our expectations are the source of our assurance, if our expectations guarantee the fulfillment of our expected experience, if our expectations compel God to deliver on His promises, if our expectations provide all the necessary resources for our lives, if our expectations provide direction and guidance for a fulfilled life-experience, etc., then our defacto god is the persona which does the expecting behind all of our expectations. In that case, we would be barking up the wrong tree when we express disappointment against the true God. What disapointed us would be the false god of our own expectations: The self, the EGO which according to Dr. Timothy Daley means "edging God out."
The problem is that we are still looking to God to satisfy our expectations even though we have edged Him out with our behavior. Bu-bu-bu-bu-but! We say we expected what God promised. The truth is, since God does not always tell us how He is going to fulfill His revealed promises, we take His express promises and redefine them with our expectations and attempt to hold God answerable to our version of His promises.
To say that there can never be any disappointment would be wrong. We live in a world plagued by the bitter fruit of sin and disobedience. We are also finite individuals often living through trial and error looking for the right and godly way to move forward. But the consequential error of our behavior fully based on and fueled by our expectations is that our expectations technically become the measure by which we grade God's performance and, therefore, His trustworthiness.
Our expectations would then force us to walk by doubt and not by faith. Our responses to God would emerge through emotional response only, but not through intellectual understanding and godly wisdom as well. We will be spending the rest of our lives treading the mirky waters of doubt, disappointment, feelings of betrayal, anger, and yes, a broken heart. We will be vainly looking for a God Who is excited and anxious to prove himself to us. We will be looking at faith in the eyes of doubt instead of addressing the issues of doubt with godly wisdom through the eyes of faith.
But God redeemed us not only from eternal death, but also from our own failed attempt to play God in our own lives. He is our Creator, Redeemer, Father, and our eternal life. As our Creator, He breathed life into us. As our Redeemer, He brought us into new life in His Son by the regenerating action of the Holy Spirit. So, we should refrain from expecting to benefit from our expectations. Instead, we should trust that our heavenly Father knows and gives us what He has prepared for us. Being guided by faith in the trustworthiness of God, we should live our life as responsible Christians who always look to God for wisdom in conducting the business of life through responsible godly decisions and actions.
So, how do we defeat disappointment and heal our broken hearts? As we have been saying, we don't! Instead, we trust God for the life He has graciously given us to enjoy, rejecting the inborn god of our futile expectations. Leaning on Him and standing firm upon the finished work of His Son, we live in His providence in thanksgiving for His salvation, peace, and security.
Be still, and know that I am God." Trust! Don't expect! Have faith! Don't doubt! Expectations and doubt will never provide the path to a life fulfilled in God, but will surely lead to disappointment and a broken heart. To live by expectations is to reduce God to a supplier Who lives to satisfy our expectations. To live by faith is to surrender to our Loving Father Who has purposed, planned, and accomplished His gracious goodwill in our favor.
Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.