Processing Heartbreak

What in your life has caused you to experience heartbreak?

As I write this blog post I am waiting for an update on the status of my 99-year-old grandmother who is in her final hours of life on this earth. If things were “normal” across the globe I would have already boarded a plane to travel 1200 some miles to be with her and other family members. But with COVID-19 restrictions in place my family is having to process heartbreak isolated from each other.

Interestingly, this week’s study  involves a call to process heartbreak.

ESV  Joel 1:8 Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth for the bridegroom of her youth.

What is the heartbreak situation in Joel 1:8?

In the preceding verses of Joel chapter one we have read that the agrarian culture of Judah has been completely decimated by myriads of devouring locusts. The entire community has been called to hear a word from the LORD through the prophet Joel about this devastating situation.

Now in verse 8 we are given another word picture of great heartbreak. Instead of an ornamented refined wedding gown the bride to be is wearing sackcloth.

Sackcloth is typically a course garment reserved for a time of mourning or penitence.

What does this communicate?

This bride was expecting to get married and enjoy a productive life with her bridegroom but instead she is now mourning a great loss. That she is wearing sackcloth implies the bridegroom has died. We are being told the bride’s dreams of a long marriage were unfulfilled.

  • Can you relate to this scene of heartbreak?
  • What have you experienced in your life that caused you heartbreak?
  • Is there any hope to be found in this verse?

 Joel 1:8 opens with the verb lament.

What does it mean to lament something?

To lament something is to have a demonstrative reaction. The original Hebrew literally means to wail.

Remember this is the LORD speaking through Joel to the nation of Judah about the devastation of their livelihood. This verse is a command to wail to the LORD about their heartbreak over the dire circumstance they are facing.

The LORD wants us to share our deepest heartbreak with Him.

He is not taken aback by our wailing over heartbreak.

Whether you are heartbroken over something you’ve been anticipating such as an elderly loved one’s pending death or have been suddenly thrust into an unexpected devastating circumstance like the bride in Joel 1:8 you have a LORD who wants you to share your heartbreak with Him.

I hope you found some encouragement in this lesson today that helps you in the weeks to come. Times are hard for many of us in a myriad of ways across our globe.

May the LORD be your strength and comfort this week.


Barbara Lynn

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Names and Their Meaning: Joel 1:1

Breaking News : Joel 1:2

Sharing Stories : Joel 1:3

Current Crisis : Joel 1:4

Shortages Today : Joel 1:5

Gone Viral : Joel 1:6

Vulnerable: Joel 1:7

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