Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
You know that God has a sense of humor when at 5:30 AM when “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus is blaring in your head while reading Isaiah 61:1-3. “He has send me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners freed.” Either that or I have a severely warped mind that takes hold of the strangest things. I don’t even like country music. As I try to shake off this image in my head, I cannot help but fall more in love with my Lord who meets me in this place each day even when my attitude is poor and I am barely awake. Day after day – He pours His Love, Mercy and Goodness into my life even when my stubborn humanity is bent on being disappointed or discontent. I went to bed that way last night and today I am fighting the urge to remain there. I have certain things that I have determined should be a certain way. Do you? Even in the midst of following Christ, we must fight our flesh every day for the little things it tries to hold on to as we try desperately to haul it all to the Cross. The Lord has spoiled me with His Goodness so much that when I experience brokenness it is unsettling and contradictory to the life that I have found in Him. My heart struggles when it hurts to see the relevance. My own spirit goads it with testimony of all the Lord has done while it harbors its pain and holds on to all the pieces. Like many people can attest, our life has not turned out exactly as I planned it. In most ways, it is way better than I could have ever imagined. But there are still some things that are not as expected and these things hurt. If my purpose in life is to bring good news to the poor, and as a Child of God it is, then I must learn to step over the broken pieces of my heart and find the joy hidden just beyond. The Lord’s Favor is come even on those days I do not feel it. He has given us beauty for ashes but there must be a sacrifice to create the substance of such things. Festive praise is born of the good that God produces in every situation according to His Word. (Romans 8:28) Brokenness causes every seed planted in our life to harvest something because it is part of the process of sowing and reaping. God has planted you in this life to harvest souls by the Blood of the Lamb and sharing the Word of our Testimony. Your life is intertwined and connected with the lives of others who need the Love and Grace discovered in Jesus Christ. We must be broken to produce such fruit.
There are days I am sick and tired of the pain in my heart. Fed up with the process and ready for relief, my flesh cries out to stop all this nonsense. It encourages a little self-preservation in this thing called life. Pace yourself, Lori. You don’t need to press so hard. God loves you. Jesus saved you. What’s the rush into His Presence? Live a little. Such things bind up the heart, holding in the hurt, planting seeds of despair that give root to bitterness. We can live with a broken heart.
Psalm 51:17 (NLT)
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
“But don’t tell my heart… My achy breaky heart… I just don’t think he’d understand and if you tell my heart… My achy breaky heart… He might blow up and kill this man…” Believe it or not – there is some hidden truth in the catchy and corny lyrics of this song. The old saying, “Sticks and stones will break our bones but words will never hurt us” is untrue. Many people will survive near misses from death with broken bodies but if the heart is broken by unkind words, misunderstood deeds, and unexpected outcomes – sadly some people will never recover. So why would God say that He desires a “broken spirit” and that He “will not reject a broken and repentant heart”? To decide to remain committed to Christ even when it causes our flesh to die and our spirit to be broken yet still find it within our heart and mind to praise the Lord – we are drawn closer. When our dreams become ashes that produce mourning in our loss but we choose to remain faithful in our pursuit of confident hope – it gives potential to our sacrifice. This is when the impossible becomes possible. God is good. He is always good. He never lies or changes His Mind. He has decided to bless and prosper us. It is up to us whether we decide to push aside our achy, breaky heart and step over our crushed spirit to continue to pursue Him as passionately and fervently as before. God sees our heart. He knows it is broken. He sees our withering spirit and is on a quest to give it new life.
Psalm 34:18-22 (NLT)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
Our willingness to be broken in life and one’s ability to overcome those things meant to crush and destroy us is called endurance. The Bibles says that “the same destiny ultimately awaits everyone.” (Ecclesiastes 9:22) It’s true. We will all face God. With that in mind, it is clear that “good people receive the same treatment as sinners and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.” There goes the idea that once you are saved troubles evaporate and problems dissolve. The difference is our faith that changes our outcomes in life not the situations we will go through. This life prepares us for forever. We must live in a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ to step past death into Eternity. Brokenness is a part of life but so is healing. Crushed spirits are going to happen but so is renewal for those who dare to live in the Presence of God. Faith makes all the difference in the world. When something breaks us – it means by faith to accept His Healing rather than trying to glue all the pieces back together ourselves. When we are being crushed – we push back with prayer and praise to elevate the pressure until the Lord eliminates it altogether.
The Lord draws near to the brokenhearted. What has hurt your heart today? Is it still poking you? I have come as a messenger today to tell you the Lord is close. He is faithful. He has not forgotten you in the midst of your pain but is working His Goodness through your life. Keep serving the Lord with your hands, your feet, and your mouth giving it all you’ve got! He is redeeming you as we speak. He is pursuing you with His Unfailing Love and Goodness trying to overtake you as you try to find relief from the pain and release from the pressure. His Love for you makes His Heart hurt when yours does. He catches our tears in a bottle to use them to water the harvest coming when we decide to plant seeds of righteousness even when we do not feel like it at all.
Matthew 5:3-10 (NLT)
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”
Over the course of my life, it has become apparent that I need Jesus more and more. Just when I think I have arrived, I am broken all over again. Just when I think I am above being crushed, it happens all over again. My need for Christ is a daily necessity. I cannot live without Him. He gives purpose and meaning to every single detail of my existence even those things that leave me brokenhearted with a crushed spirit. These times reveal my human weakness and allow me to accept the full sufficiency of His Grace as I am moved aside not to be forgotten but to be fortified and strengthened for fulfill God’s Purpose for my life. Humility will always be a requirement of faith. We must mourn to know what true comforting is. We must hunger and thirst to learn the art of satisfaction. Our hearts must be broken so we can examine its contents accepting back only that which is pure. We must work for peace. It is not a common commodity but consider a valuable asset. In all these things we are broken, now realizing our constant need for the Lord. This will carry us through this life into forever.
Psalm 27:4-8 (NLT)
The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
I don’t think this is the first time I have recalled this old song in my quiet time. Oh Lord, please let it be the last. I didn’t like it when it was popular so please change the chorus resounding in my head. The one thing that I ask of the Lord and seek most is to live in His Presence. A soft, pliable heart is necessary to do so because it is in my complete undoing that I find the fulfillment of who He is. I have always loved Psalm 27:4 but find that the true secret of finding such a place is in Psalm 27:8. When our heart is hurting on the verge of breaking it is okay to let it, this is when we hear the Lord speak to us. What does He say? “Come and talk with me” and we say, “Lord, I am coming!”
Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!