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Friday, February 16, 2024

Healing For The Brokenhearted

"Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick.  And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none." (Psalms 69:20 NASU)  Read in context one sees clearly that this passage of scripture refers to Jesus toward the very end of his life on earth when facing the cross and perhaps, very possibly, on the cross itself.  The heart has been broken to the point of sickness. 

Is there a person whose heart has never been crushed with sorrow, one whose heart has never been broken?  Most of us who are older have experienced it and sooner or later almost everyone will if they have not already.  There are the tears that flow freely and that once in motion cannot be stopped until the well has run dry but the well soon fills back up and there they go again as though they cannot be stopped.  Only the utmost strength of the will can hold them back, a will that seems to be in a life-and-death struggle with the heart. 

Food no longer matters.  The heart is too ill to even think of food.  Hunger has vanished so one can go days with barely a bite and it matters not in the least for the heart is sick.  The stomach feels as though it has taken a body blow.  All the breath has been sucked out of one's being.  Nothing matters any longer, nothing at all, all feeling is gone, and whether it be life or death matters little to none? 

There is no longer any fear for fear has been struck down.  The worst fear has achieved victory so any other thing that could come along would be but nothing.  There is no longer anything to fear.  The only emotion left is heart-wrenching sorrow.  The heart is numb and immune to further pain or insult.  Do what you will to me, it matters not. 

The greatest hurt in the world is a broken heart.  Nothing hurts worse than to have one's heart crushed.  It often comes from those we love most making the hurt almost unbearable.  We love them greatly and thought they loved us as well and then they desert us as though we were little to nothing to them. 

But there are other avenues for broken hearts as well.  A parent loses a child to death or a spouse is lost.  A healthy vigorous young man goes off to war and comes home with injuries so severe as to make a normal life impossible and hopes and dreams for the future are squashed.  His heart is broken but also that of his loved ones. 

The elderly go into nursing homes, they know it is to be permanent, and it seems family do not care or love them anymore.  The heart is broken.  Deep sorrow and sadness seem to be all that is left and old people are not supposed to cry.  But the heart is broken. 

Can a broken heart be mended?  At the time it seems life will simply stop and that the heart will never recover.  Nevertheless, hearts can be healed even though a scar may always cover the wound that was received.  Scars are eventually forgotten in the sense that the day comes when they no longer interfere with everyday life and life goes on. 

The Bible teaches that Jesus too suffered from a broken heart just as we have.  Jesus has often been called the man of sorrows based on Isa. 53.  Listen to a little of the prophet Isaiah as he talks about Jesus as he foresees the future.  "He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him." (Isa. 53:3 NASU)  Why do you think Jesus was a man of sorrows?  Was it physical affliction?  Was it poverty?  It was a heart man broke.  

The Psalmist says, speaking of Jesus prophetically, "But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people.  All who see me sneer at me." (Psalms 22:6 NASU)  John says, "He came to His own, and those who were his own did not receive Him." (John 1:11 NASU)  Was the heart of Jesus broken?  When for the last time he saw Jerusalem from a distance as he was about to enter therein it is said, "He saw the city and wept over it." (Luke 19:41 NASU)  Broken hearts weep, not hearts filled with joy. 

Yes, Jesus knows what it is to shed tears of sorrow and to have his heart broken.  In fact, he knows all about us for he "likewise also partook of the same" (Heb. 2:14), that is flesh and blood.  He was "tempted in all things as we are." (Heb. 4:15)  "He had to be made like His brethren in all things." (Heb. 2:17 NASU)  Yes, it may be that the cause of our broken heart may differ from the cause of Jesus' broken heart but is not a broken heart a broken heart?  Is pain, not pain?  Is sorrow not sorrow?  Must one's heart be crushed by a particular thing to call it a broken heart? 

Can God help us mend?  God understands that in this life there are things that are too big for us to deal with alone.  We are put in a position where we cannot act proactively for we have lost that power.  Events have overwhelmed us.  We need outside help. 

What can God do?  We might respond what is there that God cannot do?  Do you believe God can and does intervene in the affairs of men?  If he does not why then do you pray? 

Let me quote a passage to you from Psalms 34:18-19 (NASU), "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all."  In this passage, God is talking to his children.  Are you a child of God?  If so then there is help.  Three things from this passage must be considered. 

(1) Am I a righteous person?  If I want God to hear my prayer and help me then if I am not a righteous person I need to take the steps necessary to become one.  Obeying the gospel from the heart is the remedy for that if one has never done so.  For those who have obeyed the gospel but have not been faithful then to be a righteous person, one needs to repent, pray for forgiveness, and seek to live righteously henceforth.  For those who are faithful, they need to believe the Lord is near them and will deliver them out of their affliction.  They need to pray sincerely that if the affliction cannot be removed it will at least be made bearable.  James says, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16 NKJV) 

(2) In the second place God is not far from a person whose heart has been broken.  That is what the text says.  We need to believe that.  How can we say we believe the Bible and yet will not believe this?  His desire is to lift us up again and renew life within our spirit, to get us to where we want to go on living again.  We need to seek him in his own appointed way to enable him to do this for us.  So, the point is this--we have something to do with our healing.  We can reach out to God, we can seek him. 

(3) The Psalmists says, in the third place, while the righteous have many afflictions God will deliver them out of them all.  What does this mean?  It means things will get better.  The heart can and will be mended in God's own time.  When things are at their worst there is about to be a change, gradual though it may be, for God is a deliverer--a change for the better is on its way. 

The Psalmist says in Psalms 147:3, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (NASU)  Jesus says of himself, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because he has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To preach deliverance to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19 NKJV)  God is able.  We need to trust him as to how best to do it and in his own time frame.  

Broken hearts bring us extreme suffering but also restless turmoil and the absence of peace.  Sleepless nights come and go.  The mind is continually agitated and at war and we feel as though we cannot stand another day of it.  As God can heal the brokenhearted he can also restore to us peace and comfort.  Paul says that God the Father is, "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." (2 Cor. 1:3 NASU)  Comfort is to be understood not as an easy chair or soft bed but comfort of heart and soul.  God is the source. 

Solomon wrote many years ago by inspiration when he said in Prov. 3:1-2, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (NASU)  It is needful for a man or woman to walk with God to get his help.  One of the greatest blessings a man of God has is peace to overcome the turmoil of life.  The righteous soul may have many troubles and sorrows but peace is with God.  He helps his children and can bring comfort to troubled souls. 

We often pray but fail to take into account, if God is to help us, some things that are necessary on our part.  John says, "Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight." (1 John 3:22 NASU)  Have we led that kind of life--keeping his commandments and doing those things pleasing in his sight?  If not will we repent and begin to live that way?  Will we obey God?  If so John says "we receive from Him" whatever we ask. 

What is it we ought to ask if our heart is broken?  Should we ask that past history be altered?  Is that what John is speaking about, altering history so the broken heart will vanish that way?  We know better.  We can ask God to help us heal and go on with life and if we are faithful and obedient, and love him as we should, we have his promise of his help as per John's statement. 

God is the God of peace. (Rom. 15:33)  Paul, in speaking to God's children says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 NASU) 

The turmoil of the broken heart can be healed.  Live faithfully and trust God.  He will answer your prayer.  "Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all."  (2 Thess. 3:16 NKJV)  When the scripture says give you peace in every way that includes overcoming heartbreak. 

Christians are told to "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:15 NASU)  One needs grace to heal a broken heart.  It is a time of need.  The Holy Spirit speaking through James says, "Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray." (James 5:13 NAS)  Let us pray at the throne of grace for God's power to heal our broken hearts.  

In God, we find healing, comfort, and peace and those things are worth more than the weight of the world in gold.  They are ours for the asking if we will but believe and obey God and ask him for grace in our time of need. 

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