Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)
Luke 4:14-21 (NKJV)
We’ve all had our hearts broken at some point in our lives, haven’t we?
Thousands of years ago... David wrote about being broken hearted in Psalm 69:20, saying: “Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless” (NIV).
I know having a broken heart has left me feeling “helpless” before... so I kinda get what David was talking about... how about you?
Of course, doctors have identified a medical condition that’s akin to having a heart attack, that they’ve labeled “broken heart syndrome.” It’s true! It’s an actual medical condition.
When some people experience traumatic events... the death of a loved one, accidents, divorce, the loss of a job, or any other anxiety ridden/shocking event, the person can have chest pains and may even experience a weakening of the heart. Apparently the brain releases hormones... that can affect the function of the heart and mimic the signs of a heart attack... only without any blockages in the heart.
Of course, for most of us, having a broken heart never reaches the seriousness - physically - of having a heart attack. But it sure does effect us... sometimes shaking us to the core, and it can even cause us to question our faith and our understanding of God’s love for us...
In most of our lives, we experience heartbreak because of death, disappointment, rejection or resentment.
*The most vivid form of brokenheartedness accompanies grief... and we all know it’s effect, if we’ve ever lost someone we love... OR we’ll come to know it, when we lose someone we love. It’s inescapable. It affects us physically. Sometimes you struggle to breathe... as depression and anger and loneliness set in. And even though you’ll never completely get over such loss and heartbreak... your broken heart can be HEALED. Remember, Jesus came to HEAL the brokenhearted. He does so, not by taking our grief away, but by filling our hearts with his very presence... himself, and over time... we’re able to breathe again.
*Of course, disappointment has multiple levels. There’s the disappointment we experience when our favorite team loses a game they should’ve won. It hurts, but we’ll survive... trust me, you’ll be okay.
Lasting “heartbreak” usually comes when other people - people we know, and love, and respect, let us down. Of course we all do it... we all let other people down... it’s one of the many flaws in human nature. But then, how often do we find ourselves disappointed in others - because we had unrealistic expectations to begin with? We were disappointed and our hearts were broken because we desired another person to be more, or do more, or provide more... than they were ever capable of doing in the first place? We get disappointed because things don’t turn out as we’ve planned.
One way to guard against the heartbreak of disappointment, is to never expect more from another person, than we expect of ourselves.
*Then, our hearts may be most acutely broken when we’re rejected by someone we love or someone we think loves us. Or we may be rejected for a job, or position, or promotion. Rejection is personal... to be rejected is one of the most dis-affirming things we can experience.
For me, when I’ve experienced rejection, it helps to know that Jesus knew rejection, too. He’s been there and done that - in fact, people are still in the habit of rejecting Christ’s love, even today. But any rejection we may experience in this life, is tempered by the realization of Christ’s rejection.
*Still, the greatest threat to our spirit... and our relationships (both with God and one another), may be the brokenheartedness we experience because of resentment... holding on to past hurts. In other words, our hearts are often broken by a lack of forgiveness.
But here’s some amazing news. It doesn’t matter what you call a broken heart or how you got it; our relationship with Christ can bring healing in the midst of our greatest despair.
We most often think that Jesus came to save us from our sin... to pay the price for our unrighteousness... to make fellowship/communion with God possible for all who are called to believe in him. And that’s true! Jesus is a friend of sinners, who came to be the propitiation for our sins. He suffered, died, and arose from the grave, to offer us life!
But... that’s not the only reason Jesus came in the flesh! In fact, its was prophesied about the Messiah, by the Prophet Isaiah, that Jesus would be sent to “heal (or bind up) the broken hearted.”
Whether you’ve been overcome by grief... or let down by disappointment, rejection, or resentment, Jesus came to heal your heart.
For me, personally, I realized Christ was calling me to follow him at a young age... I was 9-years old. That means I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years. And I’m sure you’d all agree, as followers of Christ, that I’m not sure how those who aren’t Christians make it through life. I’ve had a lot of broken-hearted moments along the way - with many more to come, I’m sure - and if I didn’t have the foundation of faith in Christ Jesus, I’m not quite sure how I would of handled a few really bad events or circumstances.
A couple of things that I remind myself. First of all, God is in control, He knows my entire life from beginning to end and it is in Him that I have my trust. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Psalms 139:7. The answer is no where, Jesus is with me wherever I go and He experience’s every high and low of life with me as well.
Secondly when we experience broken-heartedness we often have our energy sapped from us. Here I remind myself of this: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13
I can’t count the times that I have prayed to the Lord for His power and His strength to keep going. Sometimes, all I needed was a moment to catch my breath, and regain my composure. Other times, I needed Christ’s presence to pick me up, dust me off (reminding me of who and Whose I am) and send me off to do what I need to do. God has never failed me. And He has never failed you, either.
We all experience the pain of a broken-heart. People fail us, they disappoint us, they reject us... and we become resentful, and unforgiving. They break our hearts. But Jesus never fails... he came to heal the brokenhearted.
You and I need to trust God when we’re brokenhearted... and let God be God. John Piper said, “If the sovereign, all-governing God, was weaving a fabric of beauty and hope out of the sufferings, rejection, murder, and resurrection of his Son... will he not weave out of the torn pieces and the tangled threads of your life, a beautiful tapestry for His glory?”
“[God] heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, The Message).
We - as followers of Christ - are never closer to God than when we’re hurting. Jesus is here to help.
Will you let him?