Monday, August 9, 2010

Notes of Devotion: First Aid for the Soul


Psalm 147: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars; he gives to all of them their names. ESV

Mia (not her real name) is a nineteen-year-old unwed mother of a toddler who has chosen to redefine herself. By her own poor choices and actions, she has estranged herself from her parents, friends, her child’s father and her adorable baby boy. Her mother is distraught, her child’s father is heartbroken and angry and her child is confused about who mommy really is. It breaks our hearts, too. In a lucid moment, she was overheard to wonder, “How did my life get so messed up?” Please pray for her – God knows her real name.

As long as there have been hearts, they have broken. Often these are not clean breaks, but complicated torn-tissue, splintered kinds of injuries with phantom pains that last for years - wounds that don’t heal cleanly without special attention by the Great Physician.

Whether it’s a series of repeated rejections for a manuscript, a child who has chosen poorly, a spouse who has disappointed, a job that has gone away, or a loved one who is suffering there can be real physical pain along with the emotional hurt. People who have worked and saved all their lives have seen their retirement savings slip away just when they needed it or struggled to save their homes from foreclosure. Sometimes it leads to undiagnosed depression, and sometimes it can even shake the faith of Christians who have faithfully served Christ since childhood.

David knew about being brokenhearted. Among other things, he knew how it was to grieve for a son who hated him and to never find closure this side of heaven. But through his pain, David adamantly affirms that God heals us and binds up our wounds, and in case we need convincing, he follows up with a picture of God strolling through the universe counting and naming the stars. I imagine David saying, “This Guy can totally do it.” To David, God’s healing is on par with managing the celestial bodies. It’s just as important and incredible and mystical, and He is fully capable.

So along with our prayers for finances, broken relationships, physical illnesses, and crises of faith, we should ask God to heal our broken hearts and to bind up our wounds. Right in the midst of our hurt and not waiting for resolution. He won’t necessarily take away our problems or change our situations. But these will be a little easier to face if we allow our ‘bones’ to be set so they don’t heal crookedly and our ‘sores’ to be salved so they don’t scar painfully by the hand of the One who manages the stars.

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