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God sometimes breaks your heart

A number of years ago I wrote a book that I’ve never published. It’s called “Revolution of the Broken Heart.” It’s a book of stories about how God breaks our heart to make it look more like his own heart.I’ve studied how he does it in so many people over the years. It’s usually a confusing an…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

A number of years ago I wrote a book that I’ve never published. It’s called “Revolution of the Broken Heart.” It’s a book of stories about how God breaks our heart to make it look more like his own heart.I’ve studied how he does it in so many people over the years. It’s usually a confusing and frustrating process. You feel overwhelmed and inadequate for what he’s asking you to do.  But it’s in that spot of brokenness that you become truly useful to him.
Because we don’t like being broken and tend to resist it, even when we can see God working, we need to take a deeper look at the process so that we can recognize it and not get in God’s way so much. All the thrashing about we do just delays things.
It’s a process that Katie Rowland, a racer on our team has been going through.  Here’s her blog about it (written while she was in Swaziland). I found it moving.
It’s all I know anymore…

Paul wrote in Galatians, “May I never boast except in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.”

I think Swaziland is showing me a little bit of what he meant.

I have nothing to boast of anymore; nothing to offer anymore; no
answers anymore; nothing but the the love and sacrifice of my Saviour.
It’s all I know anymore…His love surpasses all, even the suffering of
the people of Swaziland. And though they’re suffering, their names are
written upon the heart of God.

Swaziland is wrecking my heart. It’s totaled; there’s too much need and pain here to be able to walk away unscathed.

During the day when I’m out doing ministry (playing with kids,
delivering food, visiting families, shooting photos and videos) somehow
I’m OK–through the doing, God keeps me going, keeps me focused….But
when I’m back at the campsite, in the evenings or the mornings, I feel
constantly on the verge of tears, seemingly incapable of real
thought…capable only of action and reaction to whatever’s going on
around me.

Out in Nsoko among the orphans and the go-go’s, all I can offer anymore
is to lift my camera and press the shutter or hit record. I haven’t the
words to capture their pain or the depth of their eyes. My camera and
lack of training doesn’t capture it, either, but it’s my only weapon to
battle alongside them.

What am I to do in the face of hunger, hopelessness, disease,
malnutrition, poverty, unquenched thirst, childhood innocence robbed?

All I know anymore is the name of Jesus, and I cling to a faith of
desperation on behalf of the suffering. I walk along smiling and
laughing with the kids, playing hand-slap games and belly-poking games,
but in my soul I’m crying out to the Lord, asking for His mercy on this
community, for his provision for their basic needs, his healing for
their diseases–including HIV.

At moments, I just wish Jesus would come back in all His Kingly splendor to end the suffering and sighing of the people.

I cannot ignore it anymore. I’ve held its children in my arms,
whispering prayers over them, telling them in a language they don’t
know that Jesus loves them.

Will anyone hear and see the pain of these suffering as I share this
experience? Will their hearts be stirred with emotion, or even better,
stirred to action? Will this photo or that video be enough to
communicate that something must be done NOW, there’s a world
desperately dying, and Christ and His people on earth are the ones
responsible for reaching them?

Whatever happens…all I know anymore is the name of Jesus Christ. All
I know anymore is His great love for the world…and for the children
of Swaziland.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Comments (18)

  • I think I would like to respond to your book.
    Your on-line writing has certainly been a blessing in my life.
    Thankyou~And Thankyou Katie for sharing these beautiful pictures.

  • This is beautiful and breaks my heart all at once. I am learning more and more than God breaks my heart to make it more like his, each and every day. And while it hurts, it’s all I want. Because without a living, breathing, broken heart, I am not alive. “A most whole heart is a broken heart.”

  • The words te Lord spoke to me after my heart break

    “I allowed your heart to break so that you would realize that I am closer to you than your own breath!”

    Says it ALL!

  • Dittos to what Josh said. These stories need to be told. Thank you for sharing this one. I’ll go to Katie’s blog and poss it on to others.

  • I think your book would be a great reading resource for indviduals who are preparing to go on a mission trip. I hope you publish it very soon.

  • Thanks for your interest, people. I will actually email the book free of charge to anyone who is interested if you would do me the favor of sending me an email at the end critiquing it and letting me know which stories worked best for you.

  • I would love to read it too! Brokenness can definitely be very confusing, and this post was very truthful, all we can really ever fully know without any doubt is the name of Jesus, especially when we have no answers for anything.

  • I would love to read your book, Seth! I went through a lot of brokenness on the race, and a lot more when I came home. God has shown me so much through the times I’ve felt most broken, and I’m sure the stories you have are amazing and tell so much of God’s grace.

  • Seth – I’d love to read your book. I would be honored to make any comments you request. Thanks. Katie’s stories and others of brokenness need to be told.


  • Blog readers: I’ve sent the book on to those of you expressing an interest so far. Would love to hear your thoughts about it. I haven’t published it yet because it’s not ready. So, your comments could help me get it to where it needs to be.

  • seth!

    sorry it’s been awhile. life (and ministry) have been crazy for weeks, and i’m just now beginning to catch up on blogs and emails (i have 26 blog posts just from you that i’m behind on!)

    i would absolutely love to read your book. may take a little while, but i’d do it.

    this post right here, though, as do most of the blog post from Racers, cut straight through and reminded me that whatever inconveniences i’m going through at the moment, they all pale by comparison.

  • I have to say.. God broke my heart today, and I didnt understand why but this whole post helped me understand. I realize He’s breaking me of my selfishness and filling me with His love and compassion for others. Thank you, you do amazing things, and you have my prayers.

  • Hello,

    I found your site and was reading over it and I was moved to tears. These stories that you are telling and sharing touched my heart. I too would love to read your book. I think that I am searching… I have never really went to church (even as a child, I was not made to go or to read the Bible); now I feel empty. I have my family, my husband, my child but for some reason I still do not feel fullfilled. I am sad, cry and don’t really know why. There are other things that I have done that I am not proud of ( I tried to take my own life 3 times) but I have bought a Bible and started reading it. While I am reading it I feel happier than I have in many years, however when I put it down and start doing other things my pain and sadness comes right back. I can’t read 24hrs a day… I want something I am just not sure what???

    Thank you for listening to my ramblings!
    Barbara Smith from Florida

  • Hi Barbara, I was touched by your honesty here. How are you doing now? I have something I would like to share with you.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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