Mending a Broken Heart

Mending a Broken Heart
By: Dr. J.B. Hixson

“The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

When my oldest daughter was about three-years-old, she used to respond to being scolded by saying, with all of the attendant emotional sobs and tears, “Daddy, you broke my heart!”  I can still hear her saying it today.  Like most toddlers, she did not like being told, “No!”  Her outburst was mostly for dramatic effect.  “You broke my heart” was her way of saying that I had hurt her feelings and she was unhappy.  She may even have been trying to get me to change my decision.  I probably did not help the situation by responding, “Oh, your heart is broken?  Bring me my hammer and I’ll see if I can fix it!” Some broken hearts go much deeper than a young child’s theatrics.  Have you ever been brokenhearted?

Have you ever experienced the deep inner pain that makes you feel like your heart has been ripped from your chest?  Heartache so tangible, that it really, truly hurts—physically?  Maybe it was caused by the end of a relationship; or perhaps it was the loss of a loved one.  Maybe a friend said something or did something that hurt you deeply.  We have all been there.  Our hearts are tender, fragile organs, both physically and emotionally.  The heart represents the seat of our thoughts, feelings and emotions.  The heart is where we wrestle with spiritual issues and struggle against sin.  The heart is where we contemplate life and form ideas that eventually become actions.  When we are faced with a crisis, tragedy or other painful stimulus, our hearts can be broken.

How do we respond when our heart is broken?  Or, as one songwriter put it, “How can I mend this broken heart of mine?”  Somewhere, someone suggested that time heals all wounds.  Perhaps.  But there must be something more palatable to the aching soul than simply waiting.  “Hang in there.  It will get better with time,” sounds so empty and useless when your heart is truly weighted down with pain and sorrow.  A better solution is found by transcending the temporal arena of time and space and coming at the problem from a spiritual perspective.

King David reminds us, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves (literally, rescues or delivers) such as have a contrite spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)  The word “broken” here comes from Hebrew root word that means, “to destroy, shatter, or crush violently.”  The word “contrite” is equally strong.  It comes from a Hebrew root word that means, “to crush something until it becomes dust or powder.”  In other words, when David speaks of a “broken heart” and “contrite spirit” he is speaking of intense hurt and pain.  Yet, in the midst of the pain David confidently remarks that Yahweh, the Lord, is with him and will rescue him.  

When you are suffering from a broken heart, the tendency is to feel alone and abandoned.  But as believers in Christ, we can take comfort in knowing that our heavenly Father is with us even in the darkest valley.  And the reason He is with us is to deliver us safely to the other side of our heartache.  Elsewhere David writes, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4) The phrase “shadow of death” is literally, “the deep, dark valleys.”  Are you walking through a valley today?  Cry out to the Father and let Him know that your heart is broken.  He is there.  He will respond.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5b)

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