“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3
Sometimes life can deal some devastating blows. I recently received a prayer request for a dear lady whose husband died suddenly and unexpectedly. When it happened she was already grieving the passing of her mother, who had died just weeks prior.
She’s heartbroken, or in her words, she is “shattered” and understandably so.
It can be difficult to locate God when your heart is hemmed in with grief and trauma. When pain consumes us, God’s presence can be lost on us.
Try as we may, we cannot prevent our hearts from ever breaking. It comes with life in this broken world. Grief caused by losses of various kinds is painful to the core, way down in the heart. Whether it is from the unexpected death of a loved one, a devastating break-up, betrayal by a close friend, or just the general state of affairs in which we find ourselves these days, broken-heart syndrome is real.
For consolation someone offered the words, “Time heals all wounds.” But as well meaning as that saying may be, it is also naïve. We all know people whose hearts were broken somewhere along the way and they are still nursing those wounds decades later. If time was all it took, their heart would be healed by now.
No, it takes more than just time. It also involves surrender.
And this is where Jesus comes into the conversation. It may sound like a fluffy exaggeration, but Jesus does have the power to heal a broken heart, no matter how badly broken it may be. This isn’t to suggest that He will just snap his fingers and make things all better on the spot. That would also be naïve. But it is to say that He knows the human heart like no one else and He is uniquely qualified to bring healing there.
He said so Himself.
In the Old Testament, the task of the prophets was twofold: (1) to call people back to God; and also (2) to give them hope of a better day in the future. Life was tough and they desperately needed something good to anticipate. So messengers like Isaiah, for example, would give folks a glimpse of a cheerful someday when their Messiah would come and put a smile back on their faces and a song back on their lips. People would read words like these from Isaiah and exhale:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…Isaiah 61:1
When Jesus did finally appear, hundreds of years later, He read this very passage to a crowd of people. No problem, they loved that passage. It was a favorite. But Jesus didn’t stop there. You can imagine their shock at what He said next:
“The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Luke 4:21
What? It’s you Jesus? You’re the one who fits this profile? You’re the Anointed? You’re the one who gives sight to the blind? The one who frees the captive? The one who heals the brokenhearted? It’s you?
But sadly, it didn’t happen for most people in the crowd that day. They weren’t ready. They did not yet trust Him.
Here’s where there is sometimes a disconnect: In order for Jesus to heal a broken heart, that heart must first be surrendered to Him. Just like a surgeon cannot restore a broken arm unless that arm is first surrendered to his or her care, so Jesus cannot heal a broken heart unless that heart is entrusted to Him. It requires an intentional choice on our part to allow Him do what only He can do.
So Lord, in sweet surrender, I entrust my heart to You today. I confess my brokenness and my need for your mercy and grace. I won’t bother trying to hide the mess because there’s a lot going on in this heart and You see it all. Even with the clutter and debris, You insist that my heart is redeemed by the righteousness of Your Son and because of Him, I have hope. I trust You on that. On behalf of the broken and hurting I pray today, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.