Getting something crushed is a painful and destructive event. A hand or foot that gets crushed will require long rehab, if it can be saved at all. But there are worse things that can be crushed, and better answers than rehab.
This morning we’re going to talk about the problem of pain, welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me this morning for a moment of encouragement.
A crushed heart is more painful than a crushed hand or foot. And, unlike physical injury, it’s something that we all have to deal with at one time or another in our lives.
Some time ago a Salvation Army preacher named Booth Tucker was preaching on the comfort of Jesus at his church in Chicago. After his message a man approached Tucker and said, “If your wife had just died, like mine has, and your children were crying for their mother, who would never come back, you wouldn’t be saying what you’re saying.” Tragically, Tucker’s wife was killed in an accident just a few days later. When her body was brought into that same church for her funeral, Tucker gazed upon her casket silently, then turned and spoke. “The other day a man told me I wouldn’t speak of the sympathy of Jesus if my wife had just died. If that man is here, I want to tell him that Christ is sufficient. My heart is broken, but it has a song put there by Jesus. I want that man to know that Jesus Christ speaks comfort to me today.”
Today’s verse says THE LORD IS NEAR THOSE WHO HAVE A BROKEN HEART, AND SAVES THOSE WHO HAVE A CRUSHED SPIRIT.
We all know the pain of deep and crushing loss – the death of a beloved parent or our best friend, the end of a treasured relationship, the death of a child – things that bring such crushing pain that we can hardly breathe. The list of things that cause us deep pain may seem endless at times. But the best answer to a list of painful things that seems endless is the love of a savior that actually is endless; for His love is utterly boundless.
The secret is knowing the love that surpasses knowledge. That sounds impossible, but let me explain.
Knowing something goes beyond mere intellectual understanding. To truly know something requires our personal experience, opening our heart as well as our brain. In its deepest sense the verb “to know” speaks of the most intimate of understandings and personal expression. That’s how the Virgin Mary’s question was intended when the angel Gabriel told her that she would bear a son. “How will this be, since I have never know a man?” Knowing a love that surpasses knowledge demands that the knowledge get beyond our head and get embraced deep into our heart and soul. It’s not enough to know in your head that Christ loves you, or to know that He died for our sin. What is required is that we experience the love of Christ in our heart, a deeply personal and intimate exchange of love; Him loving us and we choosing to love Him.
When we embrace that love deep within us we will have the power, just like everyone who truly loves God with all their hearts, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of Christ.
We’ll know the length of the love of Christ – That He will go any distance to reach us with His love, that He will continue to love as long as necessary to reach us. The length of His love is much longer than we deserve.
We’ll know the width of the love of Christ – That His love is wide enough to embrace everyone who will come to Him. Any race, any background, any profession and, most importantly, and sin. The width of His love is wide enough to accept anyone into His forgiving and life-changing embrace.
We’ll know the height of the love of Christ – That His love will lift us high above the sin that has controlled us and the pain that holds us back. The height of His love reaches to the heavens, and carries us there with Him.
We’ll know the depth of the love of Christ – That there is no depth of pain or depravity His love cannot descend to as He reaches out to us. The depth of His love brought Him even into Hell, and there is no hell in us He cannot reach.
What happens when we know this love that surpasses knowledge? We get filled up with all the fullness of God. When we were crushed, the things we held inside us were squeezed out of us and we were empty and broken. But the fact that we can be filled again is an image of true healing and deep restoration. In your pain you may feel totally empty and hopeless, but knowing the love of Christ will fix that so that you can be filled once again.
In the midst of our crushing pain, it can seem unimaginable that we would ever be healed and restored, ever be filled up once again. That’s why the very next verse in the bible says this … “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us — to Him be the glory.”
Open up your heart, and let Him work His work in you.
The outcome will be unimaginable.