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Fix: 1. To fasten something securely into a particular place or position. 2. To mend. 3. To repair that which is broken.
“He heals the broken hearted and binds up and bandages their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows]. He renews hope and heals bodies.” (Psalm 147:3)
A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity of watching open heart surgery. And I’m not talking about watching it on YouTube! I stood and watched a triple coronary artery bypass grafting surgery and an aortic valve replacement. I stood so close that I’m glad I was wearing a gown and goggles! I stood so close that I could have reached out and touched the patient’s heart! It was amazing watching the surgeon work. Afterwards I asked how the surgeon knew which part of the artery to bypass and where to attach the new graft? After all, as far as I could see, he wasn’t following a “map” or diagram of any sorts! There was no “x” marks the spot on the patients’ arteries telling him where the blockage was. He wasn’t looking at a computer screen which showed him the damaged vessels and where he needed to bypass. The surgeon explained it to me afterwards like this: if there was a fire in a house in a street in the neighbourhood where I lived, worked, shopped and played and the road had to blocked because of that fire, I would, in my mind, be able to plan an alternate route around the blockage. Not only that, because I am so familiar with my neighbourhood and I know which house number is attached to which house, I can tell you the exact location of the house that is on fire. Heart surgery is just like that. The surgeon knows that heart and those vessels like the road map around his own home. When one vessel is blocked, he knows the exact location of the blockage and he knows exactly how to bypass the blockage. It is quite easy (with lots of training, practice and a great deal of skill) for a heart surgeon to fix a patient’s broken heart.
But it’s not as easy to fix an emotionally broken heart. Unlike physical breaks and blockages that can be visualised on an Angiogram and later bypassed if necessary, emotional blockages cannot be as easily seen and bypassed.
For over 10 years Tim and I pastored a local church and many times we were called upon to attempt to help “fix” broken relationships and broken people. We saw a lot of broken hearts. After 10 years of trying to fix people’s spiritual, emotional and mental health issues, Tim suffered a stress-induced, work-related “burnout” and depression and I gave up all desire for ministry and changed careers to become a nurse. I, like the heart surgeon, soon found that “fixing” physical hearts is much easier to deal with! But because of what we had gone through, my own heart was full of emotional blockages – doubt, disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment – and as these emotional blockages grew, my trust in God was weakened. And I began to question my faith.
The saying goes that “hurt people hurt people”. And it’s true. Broken and hurt people end up hurting those around them. And usually it’s the ones they love the most. In the case of the people Tim and I tried to help and “fix”, we often ended up being the ones that got hurt and ended up broken hearted instead. The problem was, neither Tim nor I were trained in the area of fixing emotionally broken hearts.
But God is!
He promises that He can heal broken hearts by literally bandaging up the broken places. He promises to cure the pain. He promises to fix and mend and repair and heal broken and damaged hearts. He promises to securely fasten people back together again. Broken people. People just like me.
As I reflect back over the past three year journey after we handed the running of the church we pastored over to another church I realise that I am (still) one of those broken-hearted people that needs fixing. I (still) struggle to find where I “fit”. I (still) struggle in my relationship with God as I learn to trust Him again. But one thing I know. I know that I need to keep doing the hardest thing of all – I need to keep handing the broken pieces of my heart back to God for Him to fix and mend and repair. After all, He is the only Surgeon that knows my heart intimately. He knows my pain and my broken heart like the palm of His own hand. Without His help, I know that I will remain broken and a broken heart becomes a damaged, hardened heart. And I don’t want that sort of heart to be mine.
God can fix my broken heart but first I must acknowledge that my heart is broken, then I need to completely surrender my heart to Him in order for Him to begin to work. I need to submit to Him and the work He needs to do in my heart. Then I need to have faith in His abilities to mend me. After doing all that, I just need to allow Him to get to work and do His thing.
So today (once again) I choose to hand my broken heart to God with confidence that the One who is fixing me is the most qualified for the job. Just like the surgeon that knows exactly what to do with a physical heart, God can get, literally, to the very heart of my brokenness and make it whole once more.
“He made my whole being – my heart and my mind! He formed me and knitted me and wove me together. Therefore, I will praise Him and thank Him because He has made me in an amazing and awesome way. What He has done is truly wonderful. I know that well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
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