“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit.
A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Our hearts are sometimes broken by the tragedies of life – the death of loved ones, discouragement at bad news, defeated by failures whether our own or of others. We can turn such times into a special offering to God. We can in prayer humbly transform our brokenheartedness into a way of approaching God. God will not despise our broken hearts, but instead will reach to us in His own tenderheartedness. Thus our moment of sorrow and sense of abandonment is transfigured by God into an experience of His mercy and closeness. We feel our brokenness and emptiness,but so does God and He can fill it with His compassion. Archimandrite Zacharias writes in one of his books:
“God listens to a painful heart. If we speak to Him with a painful heart he will listen to us, but we must speak to Him humbly, not with arrogance. Sometimes people become even more hardened when they are in pain. But in general pain is precious. When we pour out our painful heart God will surely listen to us. Look at the Prophetess Hannah who poured out her heart to the Lord. Her pain was such that she seemed drunk to the priest of the temple. Yet she immediately got what she prayed for, and she gave birth to Samuel the Prophet. It is very important to speak to God with a painful heart because He does not despise a contrite heart.” (Remember Thy First Love, pg. 37)
Charles Wesley penned words in his poem, “Wrestling Jacob”, which speak to the same idea of the brokenhearted being close to God:
Wrestling I will not let thee go,
Till I thy name, thy nature know.
Yield to me now – for I am weak,
But confident in self-despair!
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
Be conquered by my instant prayer,
Speak, or thou never hence shall move,
And tell me if the name is Love.
‘Tis Love, ’tis Love! Thou died’st for me,
I hear thy whisper in my heart.
The morning breaks, the shadows flee…