As I was writing my piece on pruning, a writer friend asked me to review her devotional on the brokenhearted. Its core verse sticks with me.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” - Psalm 147:3
When we look at pruning (the topic of my last blog, if you missed it), it occurs because there is something in us that needs to be cut in order to achieve God’s will in us. These things normally represent sin patterns, bad behaviors that inhibit us. But there are far more difficult circumstances, of no doing of our own, that God would use to mold us and others through our witness.
So Many Questions
Rarely do we understand these things. They are extremely painful and in a worldly sense, seem to prove of no good purpose. I think of those around me struggling with a lot of “Why?”s. A serviceman with a family is killed, a job is lost, a child mistreated, health dramatically compromised. “Why God?!”
I think of my own times of broken heartedness. They’ve all been about the loss of something precious. I've asked “Why?” thousands of times. I ask God “Why?” on many issues still. But the answers don’t matter.
We cannot understand God’s ways all the time, maybe not even most of the time. Nonetheless, we have his promises and we have to believe him. Again I say, we have to know our God and hold to that truth.
But He is Close
Scripture (above) says that God heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. I think though more precious to me is this verse:
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
To be honest, in God’s economy, I’m not sure what healing means. I don’t know what binding up wounds means. I know plenty who’ve never been healed and/or walk with wounds every day.
I do know though what it means that God is close. I know what it means, that he will come to the rescue of those crushed in spirit. I’ve experienced it! I’ve experienced it more than once.
I was driving home tonight, dealing with some of my own broken heartedness and a truly special song came on the radio. It’s called “Be Still” by Storyside B. The refrain chocked me up.
“When I feel like caving in, my heart, my soul is wearing thin, I just want to give up and nothing seems at all to add up. Can you hear my, Lord? My face is on the floor. Its then you whisper in my ear. Be still and know that I am here. We are not alone.”
Hold Promises Tight
I love Moses’ words to Joshua: “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deut 31:8
This is a promise to all of us. It’s innate in God’s character and his love for us. He will NOT leave you. He is close to the brokenhearted. He will not forsake you. Because of this, you don’t have to be afraid. You can fight discouragement.
We know the familiar verse, Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
The word “all” is another promise. It’s not some things, even most things, it’s ALL things. Does this mean we’ll always get our way? Get our prayers answered as we hope? Sadly, heck no. But it is a promise that God works everything, all our struggles, all our pain, the broken heartedness, for good.
I encourage the broken hearted to read all of Romans 12. It talks how we are alive in the spirit and should not focus on this world. It says our present sufferings are nothing compared to what God will do through them. It says we are more than conquerors, because God is for us, not against us.
Jesus says that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). Yup. You only need to be alive to get that one. But we need to remember just after that, he reminds us, that he’s conquered this world.
The Fruit of the Brokenhearted
Though often frustrating, it’s true, that God does the most powerful things, the most brilliant, amazing work, through desperate trials and heartache. I have never learned more than through these times. I’ve never seen God glorified more than watching him work in and through me at these times or others in the moments of their distress. I’ve seen my trials and those of others, spur on yet others to tremendous growth and good works. We don’t need all the answers; we just need to remember this.
Are you brokenhearted today? Oh how God loves you and will use this. Your circumstances might suck. But in all his love for you, he promises to not waste it and do things through it you can’t even begin to imagine. Oh dear brothers and sisters, God will strut his stuff in getting you and others through your pain. It is a chance for you to minister even greater and produce more beautiful fruit for the kingdom, than you ever could have produced any other way. Its a hard task... and you probably wish he'd asked someone else. But - Will you hold tight and believe him for that... for those promises?
I pray you do. And I pray that God, the God of all Comforts, will feel as close to you as all he promised, every step of the way.
Father God, we have so many questions. I’m not going to ask anymore. I’m going to trust you. I’m going to trust your methods, your decisions, and your plan. I pray you enable me to be a witness, no matter my circumstance. Strengthen me. If possible, be gracious to me and help me envision the bigger picture. But even if you can't, may I be faithful anyway.
Lord, be close to the broken hearted today. Come to their aid. You may choose not to change their circumstance. In fact, it could even get worse. Nonetheless, we know you promise to be there. You will provide the comfort, the love, the peace, to get through. You will use it in huge ways. Help us to not lose sight of this, in spite of our very natural and understandable humanness. Help us, Jesus. AMEN.