Psalm 34:18, The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
There’s an extremely talented young musician named Anna Graceman. At just the age of 9 (now 17) she wrote a beautiful song with strong lyrics called Broken Hearted. Some of the lyrics go like this:
Have you ever felt alone?
Have you ever been this sad?
Have you ever thought it’s just plain bad?
Have you ever wandered in the dark?
Have you ever thought, you’re falling apart?
I never thought I’d say it, but I think love’s overrated.
These are pretty powerful lyrics for just a 9-year-old to write and sing. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of truth to her lyrics. At least once in our lives, we all sing a brokenhearted melody. A loved one may have broken our heart, or our spirit may have been crushed by the death of someone we love. Personally, I’ve never had my heart broken so badly than by my ex-fiancé.
In February 2010 I left for basic training in the U.S. Army. While I was at basic training, unbeknownst to me, my fiancé married a man I don’t even know and got pregnant with his child. I didn’t find out until a month after I graduated from basic training, and for some illogical reason she thought it was still possible to come up to where I was stationed to marry me (I’ll spare you the details of her self-justification). This infidelity violated the conscience of her best friend, who was the one who called me and broke the news.
So, I easily relate to the lyrics of young Anna Graceman. No one in my life since then has broken my heart so terribly. People who don’t understand the pain you’re going through will say, “Just give it time. Time heals all wounds.” I was told this many times as I grieved over her betrayal. But a broken heart is not so easily healed. If it were not for Jesus, I would likely still be brokenhearted.
Isaiah prophesied of the hope of the Messiah who will “bind up the brokenhearted” and “comfort all who mourn” (61:1-2). Jesus promises this to those who trust in Him. He said specifically, “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus is able to console the brokenhearted and those who mourn because He, as God, took on our human flesh and is able to sympathise with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). He knows exactly what He needs to do to bring us through our suffering.
As Jesus comforts us, so we are to comfort one another as well. “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2 Corinthians 1:5). Saying, “Just give it time,” is not comforting. If anything, it’s condescending and makes the person feel you’re not taking their feelings seriously. It is a big deal, no matter how minuscule it may seem to us. As we spend time and pray with our neighbour, we share in their suffering by taking upon the emotions of it ourselves and providing comfort for them. As we do this, we must encourage them to find ultimate comfort in the Lord. This comfort can be found through private prayer, the sacraments, and fellowship with one another, for Jesus can be found in all these things.
When we pray, Jesus promises to hear us and be with us as we pray. Jesus comes to us in all the sacraments: He cleanses us in our Baptism, He lets us taste the sweetness of forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper, and we hear His words of forgiveness in Absolution. Personally, the Lord’s Supper brings me enormous comfort because I can “taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8).
Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). When we’re with one another in Christ, and when we’re with our congregation, we will find Christ there among us, for He uses His people as instruments to show His love for us and to comfort us.