As you’ve been self-reflecting on your heart’s image, have any of you thought or said, “Lord, my heart’s a mess!”?
Far too many of us are heavy-hearted. Many of my close friends and relatives are weighed down with depression, loneliness, anxiety, financial, or relational stress. Ironically, as modern conveniences continue to increase, it seems my schedule abounds with pressure to do more and more. Can anyone relate?
Yet, God has something far better in mind for us if we only choose His heart-lifting plan! Let’s explore truth about the burdened heart.
First, I’m grateful God’s living Word identifies and validates the reality of our pain. Just look at the following scriptures:
I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. Psalm 38:8 NIV
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief. Proverbs 14:13 ESV
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. Psalm 109:22 KJV
My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. Psalm 102:4 NIV
So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. Psalm 143:4 NIV
Second, we have a beautifully compassionate Savior in Jesus Christ. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (Matthew 12:20 NIV) Christ never despises our pain. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He longs to draw near and bring total healing!
COME, TAKE, DISCOVER … These are the meaty words of Jesus that we will focus on for a solution to the overloaded heart in Matthew 11:28-30. It may be that these Bible verses are very familiar to you, but let’s get a close up look at the power in them.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ESV
To help us gain more insight, I used the English Standard Version and studied each word in the original Greek language to write this paraphrase:
Come on and get over here to Me, everyone weighed down and burdened by life and I will give you real and refreshing rest! Take on My yoke (it’s what unites two people to move [work] together as one. Remember that you’re to keep in-step with My Spirit?). Yes, place My yoke (My Spirit’s rhythm) upon you and learn from Me (You don’t have to have it all figured out. Let Me teach you.), for I am gentle and humble in heart (not harsh and overbearing), and you will discover rest for your souls. For My yoke is useful and pleasant and My burden is easily managed.
Dear Burdened Hearts,
GO to JESUS, TAKE on HIS WAYS for you, and DISCOVER the peace, the deep REST, that comes from walking in step with Him.
How can you minister to a burdened heart?
Speak words of kindness.
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25) Your words are powerful. They can heal and refresh by the simplest word of thoughtfulness. Express your loving thoughts. Text, call, mail a card or an e-card to express your love and concern.
Mourn with those who mourn.
Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. (Proverbs 25:20 NIV)
It’s unkind to sing happy songs to a weary heart! Cheering someone up is not about us trying to get a smile or laugh out of someone’s gloomy face or (get ready for it…) quote the perfect Bible verse to instruct him or her. The Biblical way to lovingly help a hurting heart is to simply be present – listen, cry with, or hold. Friends, I have a long and unsuccessful history of trying to “fix” people’s pain by “guiding them in the truth.” Whether they’ve asked for it or not (wait…they’ve never asked for it), I want to alleviate their pain by teaching truth. Thankfully, after years of messing this up, I’ve come to realize my mistake. I wasn’t living out the truth “mourn with those who mourn!” Allowing someone to grieve and express pain helps them to heal. Be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leadership when you want to help someone by exhorting them in the truth of Scripture. Timing and wisdom are crucial.
Carry each other’s burdens
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV
As Christians, we are to live “as Christ” and help those in need; those who, for a time, have more than their hearts and hands can manage.
What can you do to actively show support to a heavy-hearted soul?