God cares for the brokenhearted

Posted Jan 13, 2020

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Daily Scripture

Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The LORD God’s spirit is upon me,
    because the LORD has anointed me.
   He has sent me
    to bring good news to the poor,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim release for captives,
        and liberation for prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
        and a day of vindication for our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
3 to provide for Zion’s mourners,
    to give them a crown in place of ashes,
    oil of joy in place of mourning,
    a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
    They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by the LORD to glorify himself.

Psalm 147:1-5

1 Praise the LORD!
    Because it is good to sing praise to our God!
    Because it is a pleasure to make beautiful praise!
2 The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem, gathering up Israel’s exiles.
3 God heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.
4 God counts the stars by number,
    giving each one a name.
5 Our Lord is great and so strong!
    God’s knowledge can’t be grasped!

Reflection Questions

Broken hearts may not be a precise clinical term, but it nevertheless underlies most of the mental health challenges we see. When something or someone breaks your heart (in any way), the pain’s intensity can convince you that healing will forever elude you. The prophet Isaiah wrote of a promised Messiah whose mission was to bring good news, including “to bind up the brokenhearted.” Jesus said that passage defined his mission (cf. Luke 4:16-21). Psalm 147 knew God doesn’t tell us to ignore our pain. Hearts break—but God does promise to heal the brokenhearted.

  • Psalm 147:3 offered a word picture of God as a caring healer, perhaps a devoted parent, tenderly bandaging the wounds life inflicts on all of us. A bandaged physical wound sometimes leaves a scar, and so does a broken heart. When has God given you healing, either directly or through one or more of God’s faithful human servants? How has God enabled you to go on with life despite whatever scars your spirit bears?
  • Jesus, in Luke 4, said Isaiah 61 defined his mission—and, by extension, his followers’ mission. Isaiah 61:3 promised that God would give those who have been broken-hearted, poor, or captives “a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.” That was beautifully poetic—but our world’s all-too-real losses are not beautiful. In what ways will you accept Jesus' “job offer” and actively join in bringing beauty where sadness has left ashes?

Prayer

Healing God, when my heart breaks, you extend comfort and healing. As I meet others whose hearts are breaking, give me the courage and caring to offer them your healing. Amen.

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Roberta Lyle

Roberta Lyle

Roberta Lyle has been on the Resurrection staff since 2006. She serves as the Program Director for Local Impact Ministries, concentrating on Education, Life Skills and Youth Focused Ministries.

A couple of months ago I took my seven year old kitty to the vet to check out a minor change and some weight loss. I wasn't too concerned as otherwise she was acting totally normal. Thirty minutes later I drove away knowing she had an inoperable tumor and probably not much time left. As I drove home fighting tears I vowed we would not own any more pets because I didn't want to go through this pain again. But while I have the option to avoid the sadness and grief that can come from losing a beloved pet but I can't choose to never experience grief or sadness. Loss is an inevitable part of life but I know I can count on God and the support of my friends and faith to help me work through times of great sadness.

My greatest losses have been the deaths of my parents. I lost my mom shortly after we moved to Kansas City. We were involved in another church where our son was in preschool and I was teaching Sunday School and taking part in Bible Study. When my dad called to say my mom had suffered a massive stroke we packed up the car and kids and headed to my home town. Mom died 12 hours later.  After we returned home I received a phone call from the church pastor but no one else at the church offered any condolences. I completed the year co-teaching the Sunday School class but after that I couldn't bring myself to go to church any more. It was just too painful to even walk into the building. My husband and I had been regular church goers throughout our marriage but for awhile I felt like I was done with church.

A few months went by and we felt like maybe there was another option for us so we looked around and decided to try Church of the Resurrection. That was 26 years ago. While everyone we met was welcoming and our sons were happy in their new Sunday School class, it took me awhile to feel connected again. But time after time, when we've hit some bumps our church friends and congregational care team have been there to help and comfort. We could have easily have walked away from the church 26 years ago and forged our own path of spiritual growth. But I don't know how we would have managed the set-backs and times of grief without the faith and support we've found in the church.

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