In 1958 I was a nine-year-old youngster, and not really interested in anything “rock.” That year three brothers — Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb — formed a pop-music group called “The Bee Gees.” Over the years, they became very popular and recorded several top-of-the-charts hits, such as “Stayin’ Alive”, “How Deep Is Your Love” and “To Love Somebody.”
In the summer of 1971, my sister, who was then a young college student in Tennessee, called me up and invited me to come to Knoxville to attend a Bee Gees concert with her there. (I was her second choice – her boyfriend was working!) This concert was one of the first in which the Gibb brothers were performing their new hit single which asked the question, “How can you mend a broken heart?”
That song, which featured the melodic falsetto renderings of brother Robin, rocketed to the top of the charts almost overnight. But surprisingly, the lyrics never seemed to answer the question which the song articulated.
Interestingly, the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon articulated his answer to that very question in 1855 and again in 1892 in a sermon titled, “Christ’s Hospital.” His text was Psalm 147:3 — “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Spurgeon then looked at the following verse and pointed out that “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” The same God whose handiwork is seen in the stars, and who so cares for them enough to name every one of them cares for each one of us and heals our broken hearts and applies the necessary healing ointment and salve to bind up our wounds.
In this message, Spurgeon talks about the wounds of desertion, neglect, and abuse – how wives are neglected by their husbands and left all too often to fend for themselves. He speaks of the wounds of grief and bereavement over the loss of loved ones near and dear to our hearts, including those in the military, who have sacrificed and given the ultimate gift for their fellow countrymen.
He also speaks of the broken hearts caused by physical and financial needs, as well as a variety of other needs as well.
You name it, Spurgeon in this message directs our thinking to that very question and its oh-so-sublime answer.
The truth of the matter, for not only the people in Spurgeon’s day, but for us as well, is that Jesus, the greatest burden-bearer and care-giver this world has ever known, still empathizes and sympathizes with those whose hearts are broken for whatever reason … including sin.
Indeed, the singer and songwriter of Israel, David, wrote in Psalm 51:17 with respect to the brokenness of his own heart due to his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the consequent murder of her husband, “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” In that same song he cries out to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” [Psalm 51:10].
I suspect that among those of you who may be reading this column today there may be two or three or more who are heart-broken — for any one of a number of reasons, whether physical, financial, relational, those mentioned above or otherwise — whatever.
It may seem that there doesn’t appear any answer to the heartbreak you are experiencing. Your burdens are overwhelming and the light at the end of the tunnel does indeed seem to be the locomotive bearing down upon you.
May I encourage you this day to take heart and realize that no matter what the issue you are facing, no matter what the burden you are bearing, indeed no matter how grievous the sin you have committed, you do not have to face it alone. You do not have to carry that burden all by yourself. I would like to recommend the “Great Physician,” Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God and the Savior of the World.
In fact, Jesus alone is the answer to the question.
You and I cannot mend our own broken hearts, or even the hearts of others, no matter how close we are to each other. I am a living testimony to the fact that indeed Jesus can and does mend broken hearts. I have had a personal relationship with Him for almost 60 years and I am still amazed by His grace.
How can you mend a broken heart? You cannot, but Jesus can. Won’t you trust him today?
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette and the News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.