What Breaks God’s Heart
The totality of the human condition is never ours to contemplate, of course, because we can’t see and know it all at once. And it may be best that we can’t. Given the heartache that rises in us from the front page of the paper and half-hour newscasts, how would we feel if we knew everything that was going on in the world? Granted, there are good things happening that offset the bad. But don’t we really believe that, if we knew it all, the preponderance of news would break our hearts?
It seems to have been that way with Jesus Christ on one occasion. After visiting “all the towns and villages” (Matthew 9:35) during one period of his ministry—a tour that involved intimate interaction with the multitudes—he became burdened about the condition of the people. Perhaps his snapshot of Israel broke his heart like a snapshot of the world would break ours. Everywhere he went he encountered disease, sickness, and spiritual oppression. In fact, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). His words bring to mind his Father’s words spoken through the prophet Ezekiel. God had rebuked the shepherds (leaders) of Israel for allowing the nation to become like a pitiful herd of abused sheep—lost, hungry, wounded, plundered, scattered—while the leaders themselves made themselves prosperous. He promised that he would come and gather his sheep and lead them into rich and quiet pastures (Ezekiel 34:12-14). He promised that he would seek and save what was lost.
The Shepherd-God of Israel indeed came in Jesus Christ to seek and to save lost sheep like us. As he went through the land of Israel, his heart broke over the condition of the people. And as his Spirit goes throughout all the towns and villages of the world today, his heart breaks over what is yet lost. If our hearts break with what breaks the heart of God, we too will want to seek and save what is lost—all in the name of Jesus Christ.
God’s Promise to You: “I want to use you to help me seek and save what is lost.”