"It's too late, she's too far gone."
This was not the response one wants to hear because it sounds like there is no hope. Now before you get all worried that this is the story of a terminally ill family member, understand this was just one parent talking to another about her child's heart. This was one parent praying out loud that her child's heart would not be cast aside, dismissed or broken. As a parent, the hardest thing to witness is a child with a broken heart and there's something inside of us that will do anything to protect and care for our kids' spirits.
But the friend was right. There was nothing the mom could do because her child loves hard. This kid is an "all or nothing" kid. The people and things she is passionate about will get full focus and care. As a parent, you marvel at your kid's dedication and devotion to a person or their passion but you know that also comes with a cost.
Parents learn that prayer is not a last resort but the first thing you do every morning and the last thing you do at night. You bathe your kids in prayer and everyone around them. You pace your floors as you sip your coffee and gaze at the sunrise wondering what the day will bring for your people and praying that the world would be as gentle as the sun rising over the trees, knowing full well the world isn't like that. You just hope that the world would wait a little while longer before it disappoints and breaks hearts.
Then you remember the Perfect Parent. God, Himself, did not even spare His own Son's heart. Jesus, who lived a perfect life and kept every curfew and house rule was betrayed, hunted down, spat on, cursed, beaten and hung on a cross. And what for? For bringing something new, something fresh and so desperately needed - grace, forgiveness and everlasting life. God's one and only kid was taken out and embarrassed and disgraced. His mom was made to look on and feel helpless. Jesus asked His friends to care for her when he could no longer do it just before His heart was crushed once and for all.
There's something a bit comforting about all this. Knowing the Savior of the world suffered the worst of all broken hearts and that He promises to walk with and never leave those who trust in Him. The Lord gives many promises for the brokenhearted in His word:
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful..."
Nowhere in the Scriptures does God say He will keep us from disappointment and heartache. In fact, He reminds us we will have trouble. Part of us feels like this is unfair, especially the parent heart in us. But if God did not keep His one and only Son from heartache, we will not escape it, either. He promises to be near, to bind it up, to apply His limitless salve of grace and mercy and to redeem the hurts and pain.
When the desire to control outweighs the ability to surrender, these are the messages from God to cling to. Instead of praying for something not to happen, we need to pray that God will keep His word even if people don't keep theirs. We need to focus on the Lord being near when friends are far off and distant. We need to focus on the ultimate self sacrifice when everyone else is completely self-centered. Finally, we need to remember that God is the One who redeems and resurrects what is brought low and seemingly destroyed.