". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


The Burden of Caring for a World Full of Suffering

September 17, 2023

Have you ever heard the prayer, or even prayed it yourself, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours?” I know I have both heard it and prayed it. Maybe you have, too. But how often have we paused to consider what that prayer actually means? If we are praying for our hearts to break over the same things that would grieve our heavenly Father, then, first, we must think about what those things are.

As a holy God, anything unholy is unable to be in His presence. He cannot face sin. This is why we needed Jesus to atone for us. He needed to bare the cross and take upon the sins of the world in order for God to see His perfect Son through us. We are only free and given eternal life through the debt paid by the blood of Christ. However, while we are free from the bondage of sin, we are still sinners in need of a Savior living in a terribly broken world. There are so many things occurring every day, every hour, that must hurt our Father tremendously.

When we lie, we bear false witness. God has commanded us not to do such a thing, so wouldn’t you think it would hurt for us to deliberately disobey? This would apply to any of the commands He has given us. When we look in the mirror and experience contempt, don’t you think it would hurt God to know we are hating the vessel made in His image? When we overlook the needy, or become jealous of those who have more than us, don’t you think it would hurt the God who sent His Son to seek and save the lost, broken, and desperate? The God who provides our every need?

It must pain the God of love when we speak ill of or compete with one another. It must hurt the God of healing when we say, “just one last time,” to that drug, drink, or pleasure. It must be sad for such a caring God to see His children depressed, angry, and anxious, only turning to Him and His Word as a last resort if even at all.

I know it must hurt the God of peace to see wars and famines across the globe. Oh, how He, a God of wrath and justice, must burn for the millions of children enslaved to sex trafficking, or the women trapped in homes with abusive husbands.

How horrifying it must be for a glorious and all-powerful God to be mocked by the obstruction of the sanctity of gender, love and marriage, and life. Even His inerrant Word is being tampered with by liberal churches, the Chinese Communist Party, and many other entities overcome by the forces of the enemy. If I were to write entirely on what pains God, I would not have the space. So, if we are now more aware of what would “break” the Lord’s heart, then the next question is equally crucial to ponder: are we prepared to share the burden?

When we say, “break my heart for what breaks Yours,” are we aware of how much our hearts are going to break? Or do we say that flippantly, without really understanding how heavy of a burden it truly is to genuinely care in a world full of suffering?

If our hearts are to be burdened over the things God hates, then that means we are going to desperately hate sin. We will hate our sin and the sins of others. We will cry for those who cry, and we can’t continue to push aside the things too hard to think about.

You will no longer have the choice to not think about the countless Christians being tortured, imprisoned, and murdered throughout the world. You cannot ignore the babies being killed every day. The children and adults permanently mutilating their bodies in the name of “gender ideology” may be at the forefront of your mind. I do not say this to be depressing. However, do you see my point? These things are depressing. Asking God to share in His grieving is asking to be at the frontlines of darkness. And this world is very dark.

I am wondering if we think about any of this. Would Christians, after having thought about these things, still want to pray that prayer? There is so much suffering in this world, and Christians are not immune to wanting to pretend it doesn’t exist. After all, who wants to make themselves miserable by thinking about what is miserable? Wouldn’t you rather stick to yourself and enjoy what life remains?

Well, in response to my own somewhat rhetorical question, I feel inclined to say that I believe Christians should be praying this prayer. My concern is that there is so much suffering, but many Christians are choosing not to do anything about it because they are choosing to hide instead. But we are called to be lights. Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

By praying this prayer and therefore more aware of what is happening in the world, we will be driven to do more. To pray, volunteer, serve as missionaries, donate, adopt, and disciple more. Being more aware of what is happening, and being more afflicted, my hope is the fires within us will be flamed with the desire to make God known through the pain and suffering. This world desperately needs Jesus — you have Him! Share Him with the people that don’t know Him.

Father, I pray our hearts break for what breaks Yours. Perhaps then we’ll understand how urgently we must boldly share Your truth to as many as possible, as soon as possible. You are the only source of hope, joy, peace, and love. This world is dark, but You, my God, have overcome the darkness.

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.