Healing the Broken-Hearted

Reading: Psalm 147.1-6
I suppose we have all seen those declarations of love carved into a tree trunk or even scratched into soft stone - the heart pierced by an arrow and the initials of, perhaps, "JG" and "HS".

Have you ever wondered what happened to JG and HS? Did they get married? Did they remain faithful in love to one another? Are they still together? Are they still living? There is a story in those initials that we will never know!

Across the years, there have been many changes in the "love" songs. Once they were a profession of "love forever." Then came songs expressing the pain of "I donít love you any more." In the past couple of weeks I have heard the refrain, "donít you think itís time we got back together again?"! In a whole range of human situations, broken hopes and dreams lead to broken hearts.

Whether the loss of a loved one (through bereavement or otherwise) or the loss of capacities through a stroke or some other health crisis, the broken-heartedness is deep and real.

In Psalm 147, the unknown Psalmist found plenty of reasons to praise the Lord - his creation, his power, his understanding, his blessing, his peace, his word...

In particular he notes the Lordís gracious care of the humble. Probably comparatively recent examples of this were the return of the exiles of Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

He says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (v. 3).

Here he is stating a general principle, of which their recent experience was just one example. Itís as if he was saying, "This is what God is like. We know!"

Broken hearts can be mended. Wounds can be healed.

Itís fine to say that, but at the moment of major crisis we donít believe it! Nothing can ever be the same again! And thatís right, too! Life wonít go on as if nothing has happened.

Broken hearts can be mended. Wounds can be healed.

It is rare for the dead to be raised to life. The stroke victim may gain a degree of mobility, but still have a large measure of disability. Some major passionate interests may never be able to be followed again. Where there has been infidelity or domestic violence, it is extremely difficult for a healthy relationship to be restored.

In spite of all of this... Broken hearts can be mended. Wounds can be healed. No matter how we feel at the moment, it is possible to "live again."

A while ago, one of the health funds had a TV ad in which someone is at the doctor being told they have a condition that can have surgery almost immediately if they are in the right fund and the right table. In fact, they face the shocked realisation that there will be a long wait ahead. At that point, the footage was stopped, the tape rewound and the scenario was replayed with a happier ending.

There are no such replays available for real life. And no health fund can make provision for mending broken hearts and wounded spirits!

But the Psalmist is right - the Lord "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

In the Beatitudes, we hear Jesus saying, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Mt. 5.4).

The prophet Jeremiah wrote of people returning to the land with shouts of joy - "I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow" (Jer. 31.13b).

Paul wrote, "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" (1 Thess. 4.13).

Broken hearts can be mended. Wounds can be healed. The Lord "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

And those of us who know his healing can help to bring his healing and comfort to others.

Prayer: Loving Father, you heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds. You know the hurts we have carried from our own life experiences. We come to you for your comfort and healing. You know the people we will meet today and the wounds they have carried. Give us both love and listening ear to be a channel of your healing to their broken hearts. In Jesusí name, Amen.

Comfort and Healing

Loved one gone,
faithful mate
for many years -
How to live
and purpose

God heals
the broken-hearted
and binds up
their wounds.

Strength gone,
speech impaired,
disobedient arm...
tears well up,
grief that what was
may never be again.

God heals
the broken-hearted
and binds up
their wounds.

© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin BlueCare Devotions, 28 May 2002.
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984.

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