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"…for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts…" (1 Chronicles 28:9b).
Did you ever do something that you regretted so badly that you spoke out loud to yourself, "Now why did I do that?" Our Lord knows why. He knows why you are so frightened of certain things that make you feel different from others. He comprehends the depths to which you can plunge yourself in despair and self-loathing. Even when you do not understand why you often do the things you do or even want to, he knows and understands. He may not approve. He certainly does not condone willful disobedience. But more than any individual can know something of himself, Jesus can know what ails you and what heals you. For Christ the Lord, you see, is indeed the mender of broken hearts.
Have you ever been betrayed by someone you fully trusted? I mean you gave your very essence to that person in total confidence and he took advantage of it. He knew that you believed in him because of the transparency of your devotion. The closeness you felt was beyond even the poet's description of intimacy. His presence. Her touch. The very fragrance of her hair would take away all your demons and bury them so far in the back of your mind that you were oblivious to anything other than the proximity of the moment. Then the betrayal came. It revealed itself subtly at first but finally blossomed into outright disloyalty. Treachery and abandonment. And you had never before experienced such detachment and crippling despondency. Our Lord felt the same betrayal before you did. The same hurt. The same humiliation and treason. That is why he can mend your heart. That is why he is able to know what only you can possibly feel. He is the mender of broken hearts.
A recent study of the work done by pioneer heart surgeons Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley was awe-inspiring. They were at the threshold of what seemed to the unlearned miraculous abilities in the operating room. Organ transplants were being perfected. New drugs to aid the body's immune system in refusing to reject a donated organ were being tested and perfected. An invisible wall grew between the two great men as they found themselves in competition. Ted Detriech, the renowned director of the Phoenix Heart Institute, was the understudy and right hand to DeBakey. He was in the middle of the hurricane that enveloped these two driven surgeons. Heart bypasses were done routinely. Then heart transplants were actually achieved, often with tragic results. The surgery was brilliant, but the rejection of the human body to a foreign organ, even a beneficent one, often determined the end results. An artificial heart was developed and used. These men were charting new paths in medicine as they literally attempted to mend broken and diseased hearts.
The Creator of hearts knows more, of course, about the human body than any physician will ever know. He designed it and perfected it and set it to breathing in the garden. It was a heart apparently created to last for an infinite amount of time. It was a heart that was tenderly designed to pump the very fluid that gave life and animation to our ancestors. Not only does the Lord know of the inner workings of the organ that pumps our blood, he is finely in tune with the mechanism we call the heart, that inner awareness in all of us that feels the depths of emotional violation as well as the heights of the sublime. Songs are written about it. Poets have struggled for years to put down in words the messages sent to our innermost beings from this thing--this entity-- we call the heart.
Was there a day in your life when everything seemed to come crashing down all at once? The gentleman's name was Jim. He, who wasn't aware of just how lonely he had become, was a guest at the single's seminar conducted by a growing church in town. He listened to the speaker who was an expert on being single again. He offered words of encouragement to the disenfranchised of heart and soul. Jim took the handout thankfully and followed the instructions. It was a test. It would reveal just how stressed and low an individual life could plunge. It could also reveal the joy of a life full and content. The median score for normalcy was 200. If a person scored less than 200 they were on the up side of life, apparently in control of the emotional superstructure that helps gird our sanity.
Jim scored a 600 on his test. He was too embarrassed to turn in his test paper for he was informed by the expert that most folk who scored 400 or below usually had to be institutionalized for treatment. Jim had lost his job, health, parents, marriage, home, and financial security all within nine months. He was definitely in need of a mender of broken hearts. He found solace in his faith that barely wavered during his ordeal. You see; Jesus can mend the most pathetic of hearts.
Does your heart ache when forsaken by a lover? Jesus was forsaken by several who claimed to love him. Does your heart break when the closest of ties are severed by animosity and bitter words? He felt the sting of the scourge and the pain of those who mocked him. "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and we will believe in you," they taunted. Do you occasionally have days of such dread and foreboding that the only thing keeping you from suicide is fear of dying overwhelming the fear of living? Are there moments of despair that you cannot understand no matter how much you concentrate or how strong-ly you attempt to overcome them? Jesus knows all about those moments. Every one of them. For he had the same emotional struggles. His heart is in tune with ours because he has suffered every heartache and every heartbreak and every temptation that humankind has struggled with from the beginning until now. He is a mender of hearts because he is the supreme image of the only true heart to ever serve God the Father perfectly.
When someone is operating on my heart, I want the best surgeon there is. Suddenly money is no object. I will find it somehow. When my spiritual heart is so pained with brickbats hurled by vicious souls whose only intent is to harm and destroy the human spirit, is there a physician I can turn to? He would have to be a great physician. The greatest. For he would have to mend a heart so broken that nobody else would take on the responsibility. Yet he did. And he does. That's why we call him Savior.
-Steve Clark Goad
Steven Clark Goad is an author and senior minister for a church in Southern California. His books deal with disharmony within the Restoration Movement, "This Present Chaos and A Unity Cordial," provide not only diagnoses but prognoses for a united Christendom. The author may be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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