Is there hope for the broken heart? Will the wounds ever heal?
The novelist, Harry Crews, shares insight into this human condition that he learned as a child:
“I became fascinated with the Sears Roebuck catalog because all the people in its pages were perfect. Nearly everyone I knew had something missing…a finger cut off, a toe split, an ear half-chewed away, an eye clouded with blindness from a glancing fence staple. And if they didn’t have something missing, they were carrying scars from barbed wire, knives, or fish hooks. But the people in the catalog had no such hurts. They were not only whole, they were beautiful. Their legs were straight, their heads were never bald, and on their faces wore beautiful expressions that I never saw much of in the faces around me.
Young as I was, though, I had known for a long time that the catalog lied. I knew that under those fancy clothes there had to be scars, there had to be blemishes and malformations of one kind or another because there are no perfect human beings.”
All we have to do is look around to see that Harry Crews is spot on. No matter how we may look or appear on the outside, all of us carry wounds and scars on the inside that we often keep hidden from the people around us.
Sooner or later, heartache and hardships come to us all. Sooner or later, all of our hearts experience real brokenness. The broken heart is a fact of life! And we need help in knowing how to deal with it, and how to grow through it. Does the Christian faith have anything to say about the anguished heart? Can religious belief and trust in God bring about the mending process? These are questions that impact us all.
Remember that classic song by the Bee Gees—How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? It captures the cry of the broken-hearted perfectly:
“And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.”
Mending the broken heart and learning to live again is a quest of innumerable multitudes. If you are struggling, this Sunday is for you! One of the reasons that I continue to believe that the message of Christ is the hope of the world is because of my own broken heart.
Not long after I began my pastoral ministry, I went through a dark night of the soul that left me shattered and broken. This was not something I had done, but rather something that was done to me. Desperate for hope, I turned to the scriptures for guidance and direction. As I stumbled through the Bible, I came upon St. Paul’s words in Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” I only grew madder at the idea that what I was having to endure was from God! What kind of God would do this to me? How could this possibly be a good thing?
But as I continued to wrestle with the wider context of what the Apostle Paul was really saying in the eighth chapter of the New Testament Epistle to the Romans, I concluded that I had misunderstood what was really being said, and that a better interpretation offered me the hope and healing that I deeply sought! I almost walked away from my calling and vocation as a Methodist minister because of my circumstances and what I THOUGHT and ASSUMED the Bible was saying to me. It also made me wonder how many other people just like me had walked away from faith because of a popular misconception of this scripture.
That said, I have some good news for broken hearts! This coming Sunday I will share the third message in my current sermon series:
On Sunday I will share with you more details about my personal experience, and more importantly, how I reclaimed my faith and sense of belief because of what I experienced, rather than in spite of it. Take a few moments this week and read through the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans in preparation for Sunday. There is healing for the broken hearted, and this Sunday I hope to lead you in finding it!
I pray God’s richest blessings upon you and your family this week, and look forward to seeing you in worship this Sunday!
P.S. I’d like to thank those of you who purchased a tornado bucket on Sunday! Pastor Greg tells me we raised over $1,700 which is enough to purchase 60 disaster-relief buckets. Our hope is to donate 240 buckets to the United Methodist Disaster Relief Warehouse in Decatur and we have a few more weeks to raise the funds before we join together on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 9:30 a.m. in the gym to fill the buckets with supplies—much like we do for Brown Bag. If you’re not familiar with that mission, it’s easy—just come and be a part. After the buckets are filled, we’ll need volunteers to deliver them to Decatur as well as disaster-relief teams who can be ready to go where God needs them. We’ll let you know how you can take that extra step to help others in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to Asbury’s social media pages (@asburybham), emails, bulletin and, as always, during announcement time in worship. If you’d like to make an online donation for flood buckets, just click this link.