Monday, April 7, 2008

A Heavy Heart

What's actually heavier than a heavy heart?

Throughout my years, I've never once found anything more difficult than a heart that's been broken, busy aching, or deeply burdened. I've had my share of all of these. The teenage years of dating taught me what a broken heart was. None of these proved serious, and eventually God showed up and showed me how silly my sadness was. My aching heart comes into play when I've seen or heard of something that upsets me. From childless marriages and lack of parenting, to this upcoming 2008 election and every evening news I watch, my heart just yearns for changes in these situations, yet my aching heart doesn't do anything for helping those involved. A burdened heart is one I'm quite familiar with.

I remember the first time I ever was burdened; it came when I was 10-years-old at church. The pastor had asked for a handshake from the church, and as I went around the circle, clasping hands with friends and the adults, my heart started feeling incredibly heavy. That was the moment when I realized that that heavy feeling I would sometimes get throughout my life would be the Holy Spirit moving in me. This, just so happened, to the be first time I ever experienced it. But Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30, "Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. Serving me is easy, and my burden is light." So immediately, I realized my condition: the Lord was working in my heart and offering His plan of salvation to me. It was nothing I had done to deserve Him, but He came to me. I humbly bowed and prayed for that burden to be lifted, and within minutes, He had taken my burden upon Himself, and I was saved and free.

I think now that then I thought my life would be free of burdens because of that moment. Don't get me wrong; it (my getting savedd) only happened once, and that's all I need to know that I have a home in Heaven. But my burdens continue. He often shows me that He's willing, but my flesh is weak (Mark 14:38). I look around my classroom even today and ponder how many of these precious children would come to know Him. It grieved my heart to think that very few would be taught the truth, that Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life (John 14:6).

That's when I remembered a prayer I prayed many years ago... I guess it's not been that long, but I think back to a time when I was imagining what my future children's names would be... This was before there was our Ethan Caleb (who's now passed on to be with Jesus) and much earlier than there was a Brian and me. It was one of those moments in your teenage years when you think of all the creative names for children, and you sit and write them down, maybe in your Bible or in a journal, but you never forget about it. I had one of those times... I barely remember the names now, because God changes your plans whether it be for marriage and/or your children's names, but as I thought about my children-to-come, I prayed one simple prayer. It was something about how I wished that if my children were not going to be saved, I'd rather the Lord take them before they enter this world. How ironic that is to me now!

I have ached... and cried... and been angry... and spiteful... and bitter... and miserable... and so BROKEN since God took Ethan from us. It wasn't until today that God burdened me with that long-forgotten prayer of MINE. My eyes fill with tears as I type this, but I realize that God knows what He's doing. I've learned that it takes a burden to relieve another one, and my heart now understands that God knows best. It hurts and the pain is at times unbearable, but I know that whatever God does is beautiful in time.

There's nothing beautiful about heartache, my brokenness, or these burdens that come on ever so weighty, but God's Word says that "He hath made every thing beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11)." In time, God will heal this wound just as he took that burden away so long ago. I am excited to see God's future plans for me, and I pray that I will wait in anticipation with a heart lifted up toward Him.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, PLANS TO GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE."


mely said...


Brian Johnson said...

Beautifully written. I am glad that our hearts can heal together and that our future is so bright as we look to the Light of the World. Stay encouraged my sister and my wife. I love you dearly and am always here to help you carry your burdens. I am glad that we have each other!