When something is broken our first response is to fix it. A broken pipe under the sink. A broken lock on the front door. A broken chain on our bike. We get out-of-order things back in order, and move on.
In human hearts, it's not always that easy.
When our hearts break from the ending of a relationship—a dating relationship or a marriage—or other life losses, people often give us advice: Grieve the loss. Deal with your emotions. Let it go. Give it to God.
What they are really saying is: surrender.
Not admit defeat. But yield your way to God's way. Lay down your will for His will. And He will take care of it. He will heal your pain.
Indeed, God is in the business of healing broken hearts and lives. He redeems our losses and messes for His good purposes.
But it's not always easy.
The good news is that a transformation of the heart happens as we surrender to God our longing, our lack, our mess, our confusion, our whole hearts.
We see an example of "surrender" and transformation in how wheat becomes bread. It's quite a process. In fact, a lot has to happen in order for someone to sink his teeth into a slice of butter-slathered toast.
Winter wheat is planted in the fall, before the ground freezes, so the roots can grow deep. What happens next is this:
Wheat is harvested.
Grain is milled to become flour.
Flour is mixed with other ingredients to become bread dough.
Dough is punched down.
Dough rises again.
Dough is punched down again.
Bread dough is put into hot oven.
Finally! The aroma of freshly baked bread fills the room, and a loaf comes out of the oven and onto your table.
What does that have to do with emotional brokenness? Just as the seeds surrender to the soil, we surrender to God. Over and over again there is constant surrender, letting go in order to transform into the final outcome.
The seed surrenders to the soil. The grain stalks surrender to the combine. The wheat kernels surrender to machines that smash wheat into flour. The bread dough surrenders to the process of baking—kneading and pounding. Yet, pounded for a purpose. And then, the surrender to the hot oven (often like the intensity of the trials we face in life).
But in the end, after the tiny wheat seeds surrender to the process, they become what they were intended to be all along. And the aroma of freshly baked bread fills the kitchen, nourishing food for you to enjoy and to give sustenance to others.
Isn't that just like the Bread of Life himself, Jesus Christ, to provide such an analogy?
When we surrender our will, we learn to rely on God totally and trust that He will provide.
As you release your grip on whatever it is that you are holding to so tightly, and replace it with Jesus (and his unchanging truth), He will restore your weary, wayward or willful heart.
And yet, some people mistakenly think that surrender equals weakness. Instead, giving God your all takes incredible courage and strength. It is brave. You are releasing with a vision of what letting go can become.
Surrender your brokenness—your pain, your loss, your emotions—to the One who loves you most. In His way and His timing, Jesus will redeem it into something worthy and wonderful.