Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Peace for the Brokenhearted

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Kelly Sikkema

“Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” ~Matthew 5:2-5

As I write these words, I think back to two years ago next month when my husband left for a 7 month deployment. It was an incredibly hard and stretching season. I can honestly say, though, that while that was the case I witnessed firsthand, in the midst of it, the reality of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:2-5. 

We are blessed when we’re poor in spirit. We are blessed when we mourn. How? Because it is then and only then that we are most able to witness and feel in such a tangible, clear way the love, comfort, and closeness of God. Paul experienced the reality of this for himself when he shared in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” If you want to know God in a real, obvious, personal, and intimate way, then walk through a tragedy and watch what happens. You can certainly come to know God in a very real way even during the mountaintop experiences of life (praise God for that - otherwise this would all feel a bit depressing!). The way you sense Him in all His fullness, though, as His very power rests upon you in times of hardship, is unmatched. That isn’t to say that we yearn for the hard times, but that we are able to boast in them and feel blessed through  even the hardest of seasons. 

I think of Job who lost his children, his belongings, his wealth, his health, everything. In the middle of this, however, Job was still able to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). God, in His infinite grace, power, and mercy didn’t leave Job in this misery, however, but rather restored everything to him (giving him in the end far more than he even had at the beginning!) and manifested Himself as sufficient in the process.

I think also of Joseph who had every dream dashed. He was a somewhat pompous young boy, proudly telling his older brothers they would one day bow down to him. What happened - though it did lead to his brothers bowing down to him! - was nothing like what he ever could have expected! First, he is thrown into a pit by his brothers and left to die. Then his brothers decide to sell him into slavery instead. Things keep going from bad to worse as Jospeh is falsely accused, thrown into prison, and then, on top of it all, forgotten there year after year. All of this was a part of God’s overarching and perfect plan, however, as these life circumstances were what then enabled Joseph to be able to be in a position to save his people from a years-long famine in the land.

Neither what happened to Job nor what happened to Joseph seemed fair. If anything, it seemed downright purposeless and hopeless. But God’s ways are not our ways, and He had a plan all along.

I think also of Jesus’ words in John 12:22-24 - “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

If we are honest with ourselves, we don’t want to die to self. We don’t want to sacrifice our dreams on the altar of what might actually be best in the long run. We don’t want to have to experience the sometimes necessary surrender of our dreams, time, wants, and interests in certain seasons on the altar of intentional, hands-on motherhood. We don’t want to feel the ache of losing someone so near and dear to our hearts. We don’t want to relinquish the idols in our here-and-now lives of comfort, prestige, wealth, or praise. We want things to go the way we want, when we want, and how we want. 

There is a freedom and peace to be found, however, when, as it was for Mary, our theology is so robust, our love for and trust in Christ so deep, and our faith in Him so profoundly unwavering, that we are able to look heartbreak in the face and willingly take it on - because we know God is greater, His plan better, and His love for us more infinite than anything we could ever dare hope for or imagine. We know Romans 8:28 to be a promise for us here, now, today, no matter what: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

So, friend, I hope you feel peace down deep in your heart even if your heart is broken in some way today. Even if there is an empty chair at your table where your spouse once was. Even if there is an empty high chair where you hoped to have a baby sitting this year. Even if there are broken relationships and seemingly hopeless situations all around you. I want you to look up and know this: the cross is a done deal, and you can filter everything that happens in your life through the lens of that reality. Everything that touches you must first be sifted through the hands of God and His gospel-centered heart for you. Every single thing! 

Rest in His love today, friend, knowing that His peace is for you even as you wonder how you could ever feel peace on a day like today. It’s there; I promise. Reach out and take it.

Reflection Questions:

1) Do you believe that you can have peace today, even in the midst of what you are feeling?

2) How have you seen firsthand the truth that those who mourn are blessed? If you haven't seen this truth, consider praying that the Lord would reveal it to you in the midst of your hard season.

3) How can you encourage someone you know who is brokenhearted with the truth of the verses you've read today?

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