The Cries of a Broken Heart Are Better Than a Hallelujah

paul

by Paul Young

There is a popular praise song that says: “the cries of a broken heart are better than a Hallelujah”.

Talking with church groups who have made mission trips to the Fond Blanc orphanage, I hear over and over again about hearts that were broken for the children during the visits, and how missionaries left feeling an unquenched desire to do more. At the Fond Blanc Foundation, we give thanks for that!

I wonder if these are some of those “broken hearts that are better than a hallelujah”. Sometimes we come to the Lord through joyful praise, but sometimes a contrite and broken heart makes for a better connection.

This may be exactly where the Lord wants us to be. We are brought to our knees by the realization that things do not always go according to our desires and our plans. We are brought up short by the aching gap between what is and what we hoped would be. As missionaries, we discover that we love more than we knew we could, and we accomplish less than we thought we would.

Our desires to serve God and to lift up the children of Haiti were always bound to fall short of our goals. We dream of the possibilities, and we measure those goals against what is accomplished. If we then anguish over unmet goals or unfinished plans we still have a choice. We can doubt and blame ourselves and others, or we can turn it all over to the Lord.

The Lord’s presence is only magnified by our realization that we cannot manage things in our own strength. He is delighted when our cries strip our broken hearts bare for him. He is joyful about the many ways in which the children’s lives have been touched and fed. He also delights in how our hearts turn away from self and toward him, through our sacrifice and effort. The Lord’s mercy is overwhelming: he uses broken hearts to bring each servant closer to him.

It is so “American” to judge the missionary efforts in Fond Blanc against our own methods and outcomes when we could be focused on his desires. It would be a waste of our effort to think that we, within our human limitations, could fix everything that needs fixing down in Haiti. Instead, humility before the Lord says: “I joyfully give you all that I have to give for your glory and to the benefit of these children, and then I trust you to handle the rest of it.”

If you are someone who has labored, prayed and supported the efforts in Fond Blanc, you have been busy with the Lord’s work. Be glad for what you have accomplished. and present your offering just as it is. If your heart is broken – either for the children or for the unfinished task at hand – that is a most important offering to the Lord. More important perhaps than a hallelujah!

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