By David Brandt Berg
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Do you ever weep for the world? Jesus even wept over Jerusalem. The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.”1 The Lord had compassion, He had sadness and sorrow for the world, “a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.”2
We need to hear the heartcry of the world. We need to be sensitive to their sorrows and their sadness, or how are we going to have compassion for them? How are we going to have love for them unless we feel their loneliness and their lack of love and their sadness?
I don’t know how we can love the world or how we can feel the love of the Lord without feeling sorry for them, feeling compassion for them. Jesus was tired once and He didn’t want to go out, but He saw the multitude that needed His help, and the Bible says that He had compassion upon the multitude.3 He wanted to escape, but He had compassion on the multitude; He was sorry for them. He had to do something about it, He had to help them, so He went out to them.
Can you remember when you were lonely without the Lord and everything seemed to take you down, and there seemed to be no love, no hope? It ought to break our hearts and make us pray and do everything we can to try to reach them for the Lord.
I think it was those 15 years I spent on the road alone that helped break my heart and break me for the poor lonesome world. I had a chance to be with them and feel what they feel. I’d been living in a heaven on earth in a Christian family, in Christian service, with churches and church meetings and all that, and I didn’t know what the world was like. I think the Lord let me go through that to break me and break my heart for the world and make me feel for them, to be sad for them and love them and have compassion on them.
Such sadness, such loneliness, no way out, no way up, every road down. People are always looking for new love and real love, and so often they can’t find it. They know it must exist, they have the hunger for it, the feeling for it, but they can’t find it because they don’t find the Lord.
It’s sad, but it’s so true. The Greeks had a word for it: catharsis. They said tragedy was better for you than comedy because it created a catharsis, a purification; it purged you and it made you pure. Like deep emotion and weeping, it washes away the impurity, the silliness and foolishness, and makes you honest. The tragedy helps to purify. Like that little poem:
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.
—Robert Browning Hamilton
That’s why I think many movies, even the tragic ones, perhaps do you more good, purge you more, purify you more, make you feel more heartbreak for the world than the silly, foolish, so-called happy ones.
There are so many poor lonely old people! The world is so sad. Those lonely old people who play solitaire are so sad. They’re the saddest, loneliest bunch in the world—so alone. So many of them have lost their spouse and it’s too late in life for them to find somebody else. Nobody to talk to, nobody to share with anymore, nobody to sleep with, just so alone without the Lord.
It should make us do all we can to try to reach them with the love of Jesus. At least we can bring them salvation in the end, on the threshold of death, and rescue them from their loneliness and their sadness and their solitaire.
Lord, help us to reach those poor lonely people who are playing solitaire so alone, so sad. They know they’ve hurt others and they’ve lost their loves, sometimes through their own fault and their own neglect. Help us to bring them the love that alleviates their loneliness. Please give us the love and give them the love that they need to see them through, those who are playing solitaire, sad, heartbroken, lonely, loveless, lifeless, and so alone. Help us to reach them with Your precious love and the good news of happiness and love that lasts forever. Break our hearts, ache our hearts, melt us, break us, make us compassionate, make us long to help those poor old folks.
God’s Word says, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”4 Some of them are alone and lonely. All their children have left and they’re home alone and they think of their children, especially at Christmastime.
Jesus is my loving Savior,
He is so precious to me.
O, how I love and adore Him
For all His mercy so free;
When I was lost on the mountain,
Barren and dark and cold,
He sought the sheep that was straying,
He brought me back to the fold.
Jesus, Jesus, dearer than all to me,
Jesus, Jesus, now only Thine I’ll be.
Where Thou dost lead I will follow,
Where’er that path may be,
And when life’s journey is ended,
Thy face in glory I’ll see.5
If He can just break and melt your heart, then He woos and wins it and warms and melts it and makes it bright and burning and happy—and no longer solitaire. Then you can go and share His love and comfort and companionship with others—so they’ll no longer be solitaire.
Originally published February 1980. Adapted and republished December 2013.
Read by Simon Peterson.
1 John 11:35.
2 Isaiah 53:3.
3 Mark 6:34.
4 Exodus 20:12.
5 Adapted from “Jesus Is Dearer Than All,” by George Bennard, 1914.