Epiphany 5, Friday, Year B

Inspired by Psalm 147:1-11, 20c

“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” Psalm 147:3-5 (NRSV)

There’s a common belief among some Christians that people who believe in God strongly enough and obey his commands diligently enough will receive a multitude of blessings and live free from hardship. When things go wrong, they tend to blame themselves, hide their wounds and brokenness, and pray for forgiveness and strength rather than healing and comfort.

God does forgive us, and he does give us strength. But he also heals us and comforts us. Jesus Christ, Son of God, lived on earth as a human being, though his faith and his obedience to his Father were perfect in a way ours can never be. Yet despite his perfect faith and obedience, things went ‘wrong’ for him as we tend to define it. He was wounded and broken. He suffered persecution, betrayal, and death. He knew life as it really is, not as we think it should be. The Word made flesh came not only to save us from our sins, but to demonstrate that he walks with us in all our experiences, and that he knows in the deepest part of his being the hardships we face. The God of heaven and earth, who has the power and authority to determine the number of stars in the sky and give each of them their names, also has the power and authority to wipe every tear from your eyes, and to comfort you when you’re hurting.

Wounds and brokenness are not abhorrent to God; he came to us because we are wounded and broken. He understands us, he comforts us, he heals us. And he forgives and strengthens us, too.

Let us pray. Merciful God, you know our failings and weaknesses. Embolden us to share our hurts with you, that we may experience your comfort and healing. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.