Ps. 36:18; “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted”.
The other morning I was driving to work and the strangest thing happened: as I pulled onto the main highway, the children’s nursery rhyme, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ came to mind. You know the one:
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again”
As I kept repeating this nursery rhyme in my mind and wondering why it would not leave me, the word ‘Brokenness’ came to my mind. I started to correlate the ‘traditional’ tale of this egg-man who in his broken state on the ground, struggled to find help. There are many forms of brokenness. One such form is being broken physically. I remember as a young child attending Cubs (a young version of the Boy Scouts), we used to play a game called Elephant Charge, basically a manic version of Dodgeball. On one occasion as I tried to jump over an oncoming ball, I landed on top of the ball and was sent flying through the air. Of course the landing was not pretty, as I landed with all my weight on my left arm. The inevitable happened; I snapped my bone so badly that my arm was left looking like the alphabet letter ‘L’. Help was quickly assembled and the next thing I know, my dad is taking me to the hospital to ‘get fixed’. The doctors were great and ‘put me back together again’ and despite the annoying itching that a cast provides, within 7 weeks all was well. But there is a brokenness that the ‘king’s men’ cannot fix…..
Physical brokenness is one thing and the pain thereof that should not be discounted or downgraded; but the pain we experience with emotional brokenness runs much deeper. Why? Because this emotional brokenness usually stems from (though not limited to) the harsh words and provocation, lack of respect or love that is shown to us or a betrayal of someone close towards us. The closer the perpetrator is to us, the deeper the wound. All of these things leave their mark. They all invoke in us the deepest insecurities that we have buried from the majority of people that we surround ourselves with. I think of Hannah in the Bible and how she was provoked on a yearly basis by Peninnah, concerning her unfruitful womb. Can you imagine how Hannah must have felt when this time of the year was approaching? She knew what was coming. She knew that Peninnah was going to come and verbally attack her. Hannah could have been forgiven if she succumbed to this attack and allowed herself to feel like this egg-man character we know as Humpty Dumpty. It would have been a natural reaction to feel emotionally broken. But she didn’t let the situation break her. And the end of the story increases in its beauty. For all of us, like Hannah, in these times of brokenness to remember what the Psalmist said; “You track all of my sorrows and you put all my tears in a bottle.” I love this so much (Even if this Englishman’s bottle of tears may just by a tiny thing). Here we understand that God not only validates our brokenness and pain, but He does something about it. He gathers them all and stores them. He is fully aware of the moments of brokenness we experience.
One more thought concerning the emotional brokenness we experience, these sufferings can often leave us feeling a little bit like Humpty Dumpty; with one difference. We often feel like we have been pushed or kicked off the wall. And this usually is correct, and is why we are in a broken mess on the floor. It is the same for us as it was for Humpty Dumpty, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put him or us back together again. They may be able to help with physical brokenness but not with this type of brokenness. The Psalmist again says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” We can’t put our trust in the coming cavalry or in men to help fix us. We must trust in one person alone for that. Our Lord. ONLY our Lord is able to bind us together again and make us whole.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…..