God takes broken things and makes them beautiful.
During the Compassion DTS I learned the truth of this statement on a deeper level than I ever knew before. From the very start, God was pursuing me, revealing His unconditional love for me, His desire for me, His heart of overflowing compassion for my hurt, for my brokenness. In one sense, the DTS was about sharing that heart of compassion with others; but to be able to do that fully, I first had to really experience it for myself.
When I first came to YWAM Townsville, I didn’t believe that it was possible for God to love me. I had put up walls around my heart that prevented anyone – including God – from knowing what was inside, and I had no idea what it meant to trust Him. Slowly, I began to encounter God on a personal level, and to let Him take down the walls bit by bit. And when I finally stepped away from my ‘safe’ place and let Him in, I found that He was completely faithful to meet me right where I was – right in the middle of my hurt and my shame; and in that place of vulnerability with God that I was so afraid of, I found nothing but deep and genuine love – a love that was unaffected by the things I had walked through, or the sin in my heart. He saw the real me, and He still loved me. As I learned to see myself through God’s eyes, I began to see how just knowing God’s love and compassionate heart for you can have the most powerful impact, and bring you healing that nothing in this world can ever provide. As I went on outreach to Indonesia, I went with a new confidence in my identity as a loved and treasured daughter of God, and because of that I was able to see that incredible truth in the people I met along the way.
It is a beautiful yet painful thing to look the injustices in the world directly in the face – but there is so much power in choosing to see it, choosing not to look away.
God never turns His face away from our suffering – He loves us so deeply that He doesn’t let us walk through the hurt alone, but walks beside us through every second of our journey, even though it breaks His heart to see it. The injustices I witnessed – especially in Indonesia
– broke my own heart, but I was also able to feel God’s broken heart for those people.
I saw each individual through God’s eyes, and I felt deeper compassion for them than I ever knew was possible. We went prayer-walking in the Red Light District in Bandung, and I was moved by such deep compassion as I watched women being ‘sold’, and heard heart-breaking stories of the lives they had to live – lives they believed they deserved, because all they were ever told was that they were worthless, and what they had done, or often what had been done to them, made them dirty and irredeemable. It was a bittersweet experience as I played with their children, knowing that they had little chance at a future that was better than their parents’, and that many of them were already experiencing abuse which would only get worse as they got older.
I looked into each person’s eyes, and I saw a daughter of God, a son of God, created for His glory and intended for beautiful and great things.
I felt His heart break for them, and it ignited a spark in me, a passion to help these precious children and women to see the truth of who they are, who God has created and called them to be. For a few short weeks, I was able to be God’s love in that situation – to walk beside them through their hurt, and be a witness to their suffering. It felt like I had only a very small impact on the huge amount of need, but I have learned that it is just as important to walk with people through their journey, and to share God’s heart of love with them, as it is to be His physical hands an
d feet to those who are suffering.
I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His, and He took me on a powerful journey of learning what it truly means to know love.
Now I choose to look directly at the suffering in this world and meet it with the unconditional love of a God who will never let us down or turn His face away. Where we see brokenness, God sees His beautiful creation; and if we are willing to let Him show us His heart, we will be privileged enough to be the ones to carry that love and bring His healing to the broken and hurting all over the world.
Brittany*, from England, was part of the Compassion elective on our January DTS in 2016.