The Psalmist wrote, “Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded” (Psalm 22:4-5).
The Hebrew root word for trust suggests “to fling oneself off a precipice.” That means being like a child who has climbed up into the rafters and cannot get down. He hears his father say, “Jump!” and he obeys, throwing himself into his father’s arms. Are you in such a place right now? Are you on the edge, teetering, and have no other option but to fling yourself into the arms of Jesus? You have simply resigned yourself to your situation, but that is not trust; it is nothing more than fatalism. Trust is something vastly different from passive resignation. It is active belief!
As we hunger for Jesus more intensely, we will find that our trust in him is well founded. At some point in our lives we may have thought that we could not really trust him—that he did not really have control over the big picture and that we had to stay in charge. But growing closer to him and getting to know him better changes that. It means that we do not just come to him for help when we are at the end of our rope; instead, we begin to walk with him so closely that we hear him warning of the trials ahead.
The trusting heart always says, “All my steps are ordered by the Lord. He is my loving Father, and he permits my sufferings, temptations and trials—but never more than I can bear, for he always makes a way of escape. He has an eternal plan and purpose for me. He has numbered every hair on my head, and he formed all my parts when I was in my mother’s womb. He knows when I sit, stand or lie down because I am the apple of his eye. He is Lord—not just over me, but over every event and situation that touches me.”
A perfect heart is also a broken heart!
The Psalmist David said, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite [crushed] spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Brokenness means more than sorrow and weeping, more than a crushed spirit, more than humility. True brokenness releases in the heart the greatest power God can entrust to mankind—greater than power to raise the dead or heal sickness and disease. When we are truly broken before God, we are given a power that restores ruins, a power that brings a special kind of glory and honor to our Lord.
You see, brokenness has to do with walls—broken down, crumbling walls. David associated the crumbling walls of Jerusalem with the brokenheartedness of God’s people. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart…. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness” (Psalm 51:17–19).
Nehemiah was a brokenhearted man, and his example has to do with those broken walls of Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 2:12–15). In the dark of the night, Nehemiah “viewed the wall.” The Hebrew word shabar is used here. It is the same word used in Psalm 51:17 for “broken heart.” In the fullest Hebrew meaning, Nehemiah’s heart was breaking in two ways. It broke first with anguish for the ruin, and second with a hope for rebuilding (bursting with hope).
This is truly a broken heart: one that first sees the church and families in ruin and feels the Lord’s anguish. Such a heart grieves over the reproach cast on the Lord’s name. It also looks deep inside and sees, as David did, its own shame and failure. But there is a second important element to this brokenness, and that is hope. The truly broken heart has heard from God: “I will heal, restore and build. Get rid of the rubbish, and get to work rebuilding the breaches!”