Healing for the Brokenhearted

Healing for the Brokenhearted

We live in a world of shattered dreams and broken promises. Things in our lives do not always work out in the way we envisioned them. Sometimes life deals us a bad hand. Sometimes life throws us a curve that knocks us for a loop. Bad things happen to us. It may involve the shattered lives of our children, family, loved ones or close friends, or the death of a loved one. No one could have predicted the devastating loss of life incurred on September 11, 2001. This was something that was not supposed to have happened on American soil. Yet it happened. Life's tragedies are unpredictable. Two years ago, my daughter died of cancer. She was the mother of three young children. Parents are supposed to outlive their children.

This brief passage from Psalm 147:3 quoted above reminds us that when life throws us an unsuspected curve, we are not alone to face life's difficulties and uncertainties. God's Spirit is always present with us to wipe the tears from our eyes and to comfort us. God came in the person of Jesus Christ to be near us in good times and in not so good times. Nothing that happens in our lives catches God by surprise. God has made provisions to not only ease our pain and suffering, but to ultimately overcome any evil that befalls us. Jesus' death on the cross was, in part, to take our pain and suffering upon himself. He is our weight bearer. He came to heal our broken hearts.

Millie Stamm, in her inspirational book Be Still and Know, gives a wonderful illustration to help us to visualize how completely God in Christ is able to heal our broken hearts and to put our lives back together so that we can experience the shalom of God. She tells of a cathedral in Europe that had a beautiful stained glass window that was broken during a strong storm into many small pieces. The pieces were gathered and stored.

A skillful craftsman from outside the village learned of the damage of the glass window. He came to the village to ask permission to restore the window. Reluctantly the villagers gave him permission, but they had little hope that anyone could repair their shattered window. Months passed without word from the stranger. Then one day the stranger returned with the window. He replaced the window in the cathedral. He invited the people to come and see the restored stained glass window. To everyone's amazement, the restored window was now more beautiful than it had been originally. This was truly a miracle.

When we give the broken pieces of our lives to God, God receives them as a skilled craftsman, and God miraculously makes our lives better and more beautiful than they were before. However, this can only happen when we are willing to give God all of the pieces of our broken lives. Yes, we must give all of the "shattered pieces" to God. Jesus is God's handy man. God specifically sent Jesus to us, to mend our broken hearts. (See Isaiah 61.) Jesus is not a stranger but a friend who loves us and knows what we are feeling and going through.

The Psalmist tells us that the Lord is close to all who have a broken heart (Ps. 34:18). What is keeping you from giving God all the pieces of your shattered dreams and broken promises? Place them on the altar of God's grace. Picture Jesus Christ lovingly and tenderly taking the pieces of your brokenness and putting them back together to make you well and whole. Thank Christ for putting the pieces of your life back together, and for making something even more beautiful from them. Ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to live your life more fully and more faithfully than before.

Pray for a friend, loved one, family member, or co-worker that is experiencing a broken heart in some area of their life. Continue to pray for him or her until you see all the brokenness put back together.

John I. Penn was Director of The Upper Room's Healing and Wholeness Ministry.

Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. This reflection may be duplicated for personal use or for church-related events; please include the following copyright line: "This material is reprinted from The Upper Room Online (http://www.upperroom.org), copyright (c) 2011 by The Upper Room, Inc., P.O. Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0004, and is used by permission of the publisher."