Betty and I thank you again for the outpouring of love, prayers, and encouragement from so many of you who care deeply for our family. The loss of our precious daughter Robin has perhaps led us to a greater understanding of what it means to be brokenhearted. When facing challenges or crises, certain passages of Scripture will come to mind. During this season, I keep hearing Jesus’ proclamation, “I came to bind up the brokenhearted.” That is one phrase from Isaiah 61 describing the work of our Savior.
The phrase, “bind up the brokenhearted” is from the New American Standard version which I literally spent many hours a day studying for almost 18 straight months after experiencing the marvelous deliverance as an often downtrodden, defeated, burned-out evangelist. The testimony of my glorious freedom and renewed fullness in the Spirit resounded throughout the church world and inspired many to seek the liberty offered to captives and prisoners that Jesus also referenced in that passage. After reading these verses in the New Living Version, I realized that during the past 25 years God obviously anointed me to also deliver good news to the poor, to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners freed, and to care for those who mourn.
Yet somehow that phrase, “sent to comfort the brokenhearted” had never registered so fully and deeply. When your heart is broken beyond anything you could ever imagine, only a miracle of God can bring the necessary healing. I believe as with the physical healing of broken bones or bleeding wounds, it is a process that requires time, the balm of Gilead, and the healing oil that only the Holy Spirit can provide. He is knitting our hearts back together again and along with the healing we are experiencing has come a deep desire to help bind up and comfort others who are brokenhearted. I have even greater appreciation now for the effectiveness of our 24-hour prayer center here at LIFE Outreach with the precious prayer partners who help bear the burdens and heartache of so many. You cannot imagine how many calls we receive daily from those who say, “I am lonely. I just need someone to talk to.” Tears well up in my eyes even as I mention this.
I want to join my heart with the very heart of God to put His arms of love around every person that hurts. We the people of God must endeavor to do that together. We have a devastated nation and broken world. Relationships have been torn apart, families separated, and many are suffering loss. I believe that God is going to show us how to more effectively comfort those who mourn.
This past week I found myself weeping just thinking about the precious witness of our daughter and the words of our grandson when he wrote the poem I shared last week to honor her. He referred to Robin being a radiant flower now thriving in God’s greenhouse and that someday we would be reunited with her and grow even closer to God. He had blessed us with her presence in His earth garden and we will someday be with her again, but now, we must grow “for her”. In other words, we should be a great witness inspired by her example, and not only for her, but for our wonderful Father who is seeking to heal our broken hearts.
As I read the very words, “for her” and began to think about how precious she was, I began to weep deeply. For the last few years when something breaks my heart, I am unable to deal with it by simply wiping my nose and having tears from my eyes. The emotional release seems to come from the top of my head and there is no way I can stop the weeping with mere tissues. My heart was torn asunder at the thought of doing something for our precious daughter and for our wonderful God, Father, and Comforter. I thought, “Why am I crying like this? Why does the emotional flow seem to come from the top of my head?” I felt like God whispered to me, “Do you want to know why? Because you don’t just have a broken heart. You’re not just emotionally concerned about others. The needs, pain, and hurt of others are not just on your heart, they are on your mind. You think about them, care about them, and want to help them. You want to alleviate their suffering. That’s the way it is with Me. People are not just on my heart, they are on My mind.”
God doesn’t just have a broken heart or emotional concern for you. YOU ARE ON HIS MIND. He cares so deeply for you that He not only wants to heal your broken heart and correct that which is distressing you, He wants to lead you in paths of righteousness. He wants to help you become a glorious well-watered garden bearing much fruit because you are intimately connected to the Vine and yielded to it as a branch that brings glory to the Lord. As we live connected to Him and full of His love, we will be able to put His arms around the brokenhearted, also offering a shoulder for others to lean on. We desperately need to do this. Remember, it’s not enough just to have something emotionally on our heart, we must be transformed in our thinking by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2), so we can know and fulfill God’s perfect will. If ever there’s been a time that we need to get on our face and pray for a broken nation and people with minds that are unable to think clearly, it’s now. We need to reach out with arms of love. Yes, we must speak words of correction (there is no room for compromise in that), but we must speak correction with a broken heart and with compassion. Perhaps there has never been such a need for compassionate expressions than in our present day. But we must also have the mind of Christ to provide meaningful assistance and real answers for challenging problems.
As our family walks through the valley of the shadow, we know that our God does bind up the brokenhearted. He uses yielded people to reveal His love and His will. Only God as a loving Father can renew our minds so we can effectively assist those who suffer while also correcting foolish, damaging practices. The church as His body has been commissioned to live fulfilling the Kingdom purpose Jesus referenced from the prophet Isaiah:[tabbed tabs=”Isaiah 61:1-2 (NLT)”]
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners…
to comfort all who mourn…
Next week I will expound on a passage of scripture clearly addressing the condition of our nation, and nations around the world that are guilty of forgetting and forsaking God.