Good News For the Broken-Hearted

Spurgeon on the healer of our broken hearts:

In this world of tears, torments and trials, the believer can take great comfort in knowing that God is near the afflicted, the oppressed, the lowly, and the broken-hearted. He is not aloof or distant from them, but close to them. He seems to take special interest in them. There are many biblical passages that can be cited here on this. Just a few include these:

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14)

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:2-3)

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
    break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:13)

He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:3-4)

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)

In all their distress he too was distressed,
    and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them. (Isaiah 63:9)

The great English preacher Charles Spurgeon knew all about suffering and hardship. Just as we can find plenty of biblical passages on this, so too, we can offer plenty of quotes by Spurgeon. Here are just a few:

“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home in it.”

“Oh child of suffering, be patient. God has not passed you over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows will also furnish you with what you need. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble. There is one who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His omnipotent hand will bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud will scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom will give place to the morning. He, if you are one of His family, will bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart.”

“Learn this lesson: not to trust Christ because you repent, but trust Christ to make you repent; not to come to Christ because you have a broken heart, but to come to Him that He may give you a broken heart; not to come to Him because you are fit to come, but to come to Him because you are unfit to come. Your fitness is your unfitness. Your qualification is your lack of qualification.”

Because Spurgeon had been through so many hard and difficult times, it is not surprising that he spoke about these matters often in his sermons, and some of the biblical passages I mentioned above he dwelt on at great length. Let me draw from two of his sermons on the broken-hearted.

In 1890 he discussed Psalm 147:3 in a sermon titled “Christ’s Hospital.” The entire sermon is worth reading, but let me offer some parts of it for you.

There are many sorts of broken hearts, and Christ is good at healing them all. I am not going to lower and narrow the application of my text. The patients of the great Physician are those whose hearts are broken through sorrow. Hearts are broken through disappointment. Hearts are broken by bereavement. Hearts are broken in ten thousand ways, for this is a heart-breaking world; and Christ is good at healing all manner of heart-breaks. I would encourage every person here, even though his heart-break may not be of a spiritual kind, to make an application to him who healeth the broken in heart. The text does not say “the spiritually broken in heart”, therefore I will not insert an adverb where there is none in the passage. Come hither, ye that are burdened, all ye that labour and are heavy laden; come hither, all ye that sorrow, be your sorrow what it may; come hither, all ye whose hearts are broken, be the heart-break what it may, for he healeth the broken in heart.


Still, there is a special brokenness of heart to which Christ gives the very earliest and tenderest attention. He heals those whose hearts are broken for sin. Christ heals the heart that is broken because of its sin; so that it grieves, laments, regrets, and bemoans itself, saying, “Woe is me that I have done this exceeding great evil, and brought ruin upon myself! Woe is me that I have dishonoured God, that I have cast myself away from his presence, that I have made myself liable to his everlasting wrath, and that even now his wrath abideth upon me!” If there is a man here whose heart is broken about his past life, he is the man to whom my text refers. Are you heart-broken because you have wasted forty, fifty, sixty years? Are you heart-broken at the remembrance that you have cursed the God who has blessed you, that you have denied the existence of him without whom you never would have been in existence yourself, that you have lived to train your family without godliness, without any respect to the Most High God at all? Has the Lord brought this home to you? Has he made you feel what a hideous thing it is to be blind to Christ, to refuse his love, to reject his blood, to live an enemy to your best Friend? Have you felt this? O my friend, I cannot reach across the gallery to give you my hand; but will you think that I am doing it, for I wish to do it? If there is a heart here broken on account of sin, I thank God for it, and praise the Lord that there is such a text as this: “He healeth the broken in heart.”


Christ also heals hearts that are broken from sin. When you and sin have quarrelled, never let the quarrel be made up again. You and sin were friends at one time; but now you hate sin, and you would be wholly rid of it if you could. You wish never to sin. You are anxious to be clear of the most darling sin that you ever indulged in, and you desire to be made pure as God is pure. Your heart is broken away from its old moorings. That which you once loved you now hate. That which you once hated you now at least desire to love. It is well. I am glad that you are here, for to you is the text sent, “He healeth the broken in heart.”…


If there is such a Physician as this, and we have broken hearts, it goes without saying that, first of all, we ought to resort to him. When people are told that they have an incurable disease, a malady that will soon bring them to their grave, they are much distressed; but if, somewhere or other, they hear that the disease may be cured after all, they say, “Where? Where?” Well, perhaps it is thousands of miles away; but they are willing to go, if they can. Or the medicine may be very unpleasant or very expensive; but if they find that they can be cured, they say, “I will have it.” If anyone came to their door, and said, “Here it is, it will heal you; and you can have it for nothing, and as much as ever you want of it;” there would be no difficulty in getting rid of any quantity of the medicine, so long as we found people sick. Now, if you have a broken heart to-night, you will be glad to have Christ. I had a broken heart once, and I went to him and he healed it; healed it in a moment, and made me sing for joy! Young men and women, I was about fifteen or sixteen when he healed me; I wish that you would go to him now, while you are yet young. The age of his patients does not matter. Are you younger than fifteen? Boys and girls may have broken hearts; and old men and old women may have broken hearts; but they may come to Jesus, and be healed. Let them come to him tonight, and seek to be healed.

And in 1874 he spoke on Isaiah 61:1 in his sermon, “Binding Up Broken Hearts.” Here are some parts of it:

Notice, also, that Christ is not sent to bring to broken hearts remedies that we are to apply. If a man has a bad wound, and there is an ointment that will heal his wound, he has to put it on, but suppose the wound is in some part that he cannot reach, he says, “Here is the ointment, but what is the good of it? How can I put it on?” He has broken his arm, and it is to be strapped up. “There is the strapping,” says he, “but how am I to strap my arm up? I need somebody to do it for me.”


I remember once being with an old sea captain who was in trouble of mind, and I was telling him of the promises of God and he said, “Yes, those promises are something like the great posts by the side of the river, to which you can moor your vessel. You have got a rope with a loop to it, but the job is to get it over the post. It will hold your vessel if you can, but,” said he, “I cannot get the loop over the post. There are the promises, but I cannot get a hold of them.”


We are so weak and feeble that the Lord Jesus has not merely come to bring the ointment, but He has come “to bind up the brokenhearted.” I think that one of the grandest passages in the whole Word of God is Psalm 147:3-4, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” Does it not seem to be a great stoop from marshalling the stars to bending down over poor broken hearts, and closing up their wounds? Yet God delights as much in displaying His grace as in displaying His power.


So you see, dear broken-hearted ones, that Jesus Christ has come to bind up the broken in heart, that is, to bring to you the consolations of His grace, and to apply them to you, and for this purpose we read, in the verse in which our text is found, that “the Spirit of the Lord GOD” is upon Him because it is the Spirit of God who applies the Word to the heart, and therefore the Spirit is put upon the Lord Jesus Christ so that when He speaks, the Word may be with power.


So, dear friends, we have a Savior sent, upon whom the Spirit of God has been poured out, and who therefore, speaks effectually—not to ears that are closed, for He opens the ears and conveys the truth through the ear right into the soul, and so makes us know the blessing and power of it….


Further, some hearts are broken through severe bereavements. “Ah!” says one, “I shall never be able to look up again, for I have lost the husband whom I loved with all my heart, and my dear child is gone too.” “Ah!” says another, “the darling of my heart has been taken from me, all my earthly hopes have been buried beneath the sod. I shall never rejoice any more.” Will you not? There is One who heals just such broken hearts as yours, for He once wept at a graveside, and comforted the mourners there, and He will let you see that even your bereavement shall be for your good. Whoever they may have been whom you have lost, the Lord is teaching you that these losses are meant to bring you nearer to Himself, that you may find all your heart’s love centered upon the only One who deserves to have it all.

Yes quite right. Thank God that he is the great healer and the divine comforter.

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