I learned at an early age that life is very difficult. Losing my father to cancer when I was a teen, I discovered that no one is immune from suffering. Throughout my life, I’ve been inspired by those who endure great trials with grace and faith.
When I was a young mother, my close friend and neighbor, Sheri, delivered a baby girl who had severe congenital problems. The baby had a cleft palate, club feet, malformed eyes, and a brain with only the brain stem that functioned. Doctors told Sheri that her baby, whom she named Hope, had days to live, but tiny Hope lived for several months.
As I saw Sheri holding her tiny baby, I felt overwhelmed with grief, knowing that she would soon part with her fragile angel. Sheri had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and knew that her baby, whose time on earth was short, would be resurrected and that she would see her again. Sheri inspired me as she endured the heartbreaking loss of her infant with grace and faith.
Life can be very difficult. Many suffer terribly. Children are sometimes abused in horrific and unspeakable ways. Some homes, communities, and countries are oppressed by some who choose brutality and cruelty. Although some escape major suffering, most of us will know some tragedy during our lives. Some of us will experience times of great sorrow.
Sometimes we feel brokenhearted. Reasons that we experience intense sorrow vary. Sometimes we experience loss, broken dreams, or betrayal. We may have lost a home, a job, a friend, or a loved one. We may find that mental or physical illness threatens to destroy our independence, self-esteem, or peace of mind. Sin in its multitude of disguises may ensnare us with guilt, self-loathing, or addiction.
One of my favorite descriptions of the Savior’s mission is when he tells us he came to “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” I believe the Savior binds up our broken hearts and free is from the captivity of sin and sorrow in three ways.
First, He understands our pain. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Isn’t it comforting to know that God empathizes with our pain because He has already experienced it? That is so comforting! When we talk to Him, He listens perfectly and understands completely.
Next, we know that suffering is temporary but permanent peace is possible because of Christ’s infinite sacrifice. Because Christ conquered death, we will all rise again. We can trust that this, too, will pass. We read, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead…even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Finally, Christ heals us. He waits to forgive our sins. He longs to bind up our broken hearts. He lives to free us from the bondage of fear, anger, bitterness, or addiction. Isaiah teaches:
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted....
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
I have learned that Christ does heal our wounded hearts. Sometimes we have to still our hearts enough to allow the healing to begin. Often, healing takes time, faith, and patience. Some healing may not occur in this life but in the next—but it will come, according to God’s will and His timetable.
This has been a difficult year for me. One of my adult children has made choices that have broken my heart, but I know God loves that child and that He will bind up my broken heart—and my child’s—if we will trust in Him. This blog, which I wrote to help others, is now helping me. That is part of Christ’s mission, for as we seek to bless others, He blesses us. As we give, so we receive. Thanks for reading the blog and commenting. What I started as a means of serving others has become my solace as well.
© Carol Brown