Part 1: The Revelations of Heartbreak
written by Evan Jones, artwork by Jessie Lo
In Part 1 of this series, writer Evan Jones gives us an honest look into her own heartbreak and how it helped to shed light on where we as humans often look for fulfillment.
It was a kind of love that had never before graced my heart. It was uniquely genuine and pure. But what I wanted to last forever lasted only for a little while. The relationship I thought would end in marriage ended in tears, and an unreciprocated desire to give it one more try. One unforeseen conversation broke the bond I hoped would be sealed with a ring, and just like that, my friend, “the one whom my soul loved,” left my life abruptly and to my dismay, prematurely. When he left, the warm familiarity his presence provided went with him, and just like that, he became a stranger.
I was the aftermath of a natural disaster personified: ruined and devastated. Like a catastrophic rain on a day forecasted to be warm, sunny, and still, mass devastation came out of nowhere. “What happened?” was the only expression my frailty could formulate, yet it was one that could not adequately express my shock and emotional agony. I felt vacant and void. The person I confided in, sought comfort in, laughed with, lamented with, shared life with, and felt loved by, was gone. Darkness had become my closest friend, and to think my wholeness would ever be restored was at the time unfathomable. The night we broke up, a part of my heart, a part of my life, and a part of who I was, died. There were many nights of many months where to this day I’m certain the worst physical pain would have hurt less than the invisible affliction that tormented my soul.
Sure, a lot of my grief could be blamed on my broken heart, but in retrospect, heartbreak wasn’t the only culprit of my misery. It was me, and my failure to realize that meaning, merit, and everlasting love is found in Christ, not man. In a completely non-self-deprecating kind of way, I was miserable, and it was all my fault. I fell into a relationship and fell in love—a situation lots of young people find themselves in. But somewhere along the line, my relationship became less about friendship and more about fulfillment. I didn’t have to pray, or read, or worship, to feel connected and complete. It was faster to feel “close” with an occasional hug, a date, a few hours of quality time, and an audible voice that told me how “lovely” I was. Romance’s
rose-colored lenses had convinced me that the nearness of a human was easier to acquire than the nearness of the Lord, and I found myself wanting more attention from my boyfriend than from God. Little did I know that the source of the satisfaction I sought sat in Heaven. It would take heartbreak and pain to make me see that the love I received from him, was different and less satisfying than the love I received from Him.
Because we were created to be in relationship, there is a part in everyone’s heart that craves intimacy and longs to love and be loved—it’s natural. But what our brokenness also makes natural is a tendency to fulfill that intrinsic desire in a human, and seek love, value, and closeness in another person. It can sometimes be our first inclination to gratify that inescapable hunger for closeness in a friendship or romantic relationship. Some of us (like myself ) are even fooled into thinking that a boyfriend is the key to emotional contentment, as if a guy is the remedy to loneliness. But this could not be more far from the truth. These so-called cures are nothing more than quick-fixes that only momentarily alleviate a daily, hourly, and moment-to-moment need for intimacy.
No matter how healthy, functioning, or Christ-centered a relationship may be, if God is not our fount of fulfillment, we’re often left wanting more. Even the most rewarding relationships can, and most likely will, leave us with a void—an aching emptiness that no amount of hugs, hand-holding, or affectionate compliments can fill.
So why, in a pursuit of intimacy, do we sometimes turn to man before God? Why do we overlook the only One who can entirely eradicate our emptiness? Perhaps it is a proclivity for instant gratification, or the safeness that comes with relying on something tangible—someone you can physically touch and audibly hear. Maybe it stems from an inability to surrender and trust that the Lord will take care of our needs, even the unseen ones, like intimacy—an ethereal and somewhat lofty need that sprouts from the hidden hollows within us. Whatever the reason, the “intimacy” had in human relationships is fleeting, seasonal, and circumstantial.
In the next part of our series on “Finding Hope in a Broken Heart,” we will hear again from Evan Jones about how God is sufficient to meet all our needs.
(Adapted from RE:NEW Magazine, February 2016, Issue 5)