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The Healer of Broken Hearts

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2023 12:00 am

The Healer of Broken Hearts

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 20, 2023 12:00 am

How do you handle suffering? Do you try to deal with it yourself only to ultimately crumble under the stress and sorrow? Suffering serves a glorious purpose—God uses it to refine us, grow us, and make us more like Him. Thankfully, we don’t have to face trials alone. We can rest in the God of all grace, relying on Him for strength and comfort. This lesson expounds upon how, in our heartbreak, God Himself mends us, builds us up, and sets our feet on solid ground.

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I think the average Christian goes through life as if his needs and requests and petitions are probably never going to make it into the Oval Office of Heaven. There's some angelic screening process. There's probably some angelic director of heavenly correspondence in the way, and yours is not nearly significant enough to get through. Peter would say, God Himself is directly involved in your life.

All the mail goes directly to Him. How do you handle suffering? Do you usually just try to deal with it yourself? Have you ever done that only to ultimately crumble under the stress and sorrow? Or maybe you've taken your sorrow to God but then wondered if God is listening or if He really cares. It may not seem like it at the time, but suffering serves a glorious purpose. God uses it to refine you, grow you, and make you more like Him.

Today, Stephen Davey expounds upon how, in your heartbreak, God Himself mends you, builds you up, and sets your feet on solid ground. In Philip Yancey's book entitled, What's So Amazing About Grace, he wrote, God's grace is free, but it isn't cheap. It costs the life of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Still, the notion of God's love coming to us free of charge seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist has his eightfold path to travel in hopes of entering bliss. The Hindu follows his doctrine of karma and hopes enough good karma will secure his eternal happiness. The Jew follows his covenants in hopes of being righteous with God.

The Muslim tries to follow his code of law and religious ritual. Only Christianity dares to make God's love unconditional, a gift of grace. God willingly and generously, daily, loads us more than we could ever begin to recognize with the benefits of His grace. In recent months, the stories around John Paul Getty have sort of made it into the film. Some of you have read some of the biographical materials I have. He graduated in 1913 from Oxford University and he kind of followed his father into the oil business, figured out how to ship it. By 1957, he was the richest man on planet earth, worth billions of dollars in 1957. But he was legendary, not only for being wealthy, but for being stingy.

For instance, at his English manor located on 700 acres, sort of a castle really, just outside of London. He installed a pay phone so that his guests would have to pay for any phone calls they made. In 1973, when his 16-year-old grandson was kidnapped in Italy and held for a ransom of $17 million, he refused to pay any of it. Only later, when a portion of his grandson's right ear was mailed to a Roman newspaper to Getty to get serious about helping meet their demands. But even then, he was willing only to loan the money at 4% interest to his son to use for his grandson's ransom.

Wealthy, but stingy. Paul the Apostle wrote to the believers living in Ephesus that God isn't stingy. In fact, he uses the expression that God lavishes upon us his grace, Ephesians 1.8. His grace isn't the stingy little trickle.

It is a rushing Niagara Falls. In fact, the Apostle Peter wants us to stop and pause at this point. And here's one of the primary points he wants to make. God operates in the life of the believer by grace, unending, unceasing, unmerited, undeserved favor. Take your copy of the letter and go back to 1 Peter 5 and look with me at the next verse in our exposition where verse number 10. And I want you to go first of all to the middle part of the verse where Peter gives God a title that no other author in the Bible gives God. Right in the middle of verse 10, Peter refers to God as the God of all grace. You may remember if you're older in the faith that Paul referred to God as the God of all comfort in his letter to the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 1 verse 3. But nowhere in the New Testament has God given this title, the God of all grace.

And what he's doing is he's wanting to emphasize that God is the source of grace, but he is also the dispenser, he is the giver of grace. Let's define grace this way. Grace is undeserved favor bestowed upon us in our unworthiness.

And by the way, our unworthiness never changes. We never get to the point where we can say, well, we deserved that from God. I know the average Christian knows he's saved by the unearned undeserved grace of God, but I think the average Christian thinks he has to earn God's smile every day after that, that he has to be worthy of further daily grace. I mean, he went six straight days, you know, without missing devotions or yelling at your neighbors, you know, maybe God will really give you grace now.

I mean, heaven might be on the hook if you're going to mess up. No, God actually operates in the life of the believer on the basis of this unlimited ceaseless overarching demonstration, this deluge of grace. We just don't see it. In fact, I love the way Peter put it here in this unique New Testament title. He doesn't just write that God is the God of grace.

Did you notice? He is the God of all grace. The meaning of that Greek word all is all grace, limitless grace. You were saved by grace.

You confess your sin to him through Christ by grace. You're given strength for every challenge by his grace, which is sufficient. Second Corinthians 12 now.

Satan's strategies will not succeed because God's grace cannot fail. In fact, Peter goes on to tie up that loose end, lest anybody wonder if God's grace will ever run out of gas. Notice the next phrase, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ. In other words, God's grace is going to take you from earth all the way to eternal glory demonstrated in Christ, the sovereign, glorious Son of God. God's call to you didn't just involve salvation. It includes, within that summons, it includes making it all the way from earth to heaven.

It doesn't run out of gas. This vehicle of grace will take you there. So God's never ending grace entitles you to his never ending glory. So what Peter does here is cause us to focus on the God of all grace and you say, well, but wait a second, hold the phone. God is so gracious to the believer than what is the believer suffer.

Why isn't the believer immune from suffering? Why doesn't God build a protective wall around the life of every one of you as believers and hang a sign on that wall that says do not disturb. Don't disturb my child. And Peter's going to circle back around. He's going to wrap up his letter. He's dealt with this subject several times with he being the good teacher, in fact, knowing how often he would hear things from the Lord and then forget them.

He's going to remind us all over again. So now go back to the beginning of the verse. After you have suffered a little while, not if you suffer for a little while, but after. Suffering for the believer is not a surprise. It is a certainty. We've learned perhaps from church history that some of God's greatest servants suffered the greatest.

Disease, danger, difficulty, disability, the death of loved ones, on and on and on and on. But don't miss this here. Peter not only reminds the believer that it is a certainty. He just told us it is temporary. After you have suffered, how long is it going to be, Peter? A little while.

A little while back. Paul wrote to the Corinthians along with the same perspective that Peter reminds us here, and he called his own suffering. He said this. I love this. Paul, the apostle, said in 2 Corinthians 4 17, he said, Yeah, we've experienced light and momentary affliction.

You've got to be kidding. Light at momentary affliction. This from the man who was stoned nearly to death by angry mobs, shipwrecked more than once, beaten and flogged several times. He had a price on his head like a common criminal. He would often slip into town and a riot would ensue. Several times he escaped with his life, light and momentary.

Can you imagine deserving none of it being beaten by rods? See, we tend to forget that the apostle Paul is an older man who was scarred from head to toe. If he stood in this pulpit this morning to preach, we would be stunned by the way his face was marred and his body scarred.

He'd probably notice a staring and he'd probably smile and say, Oh, this. This is light and momentary. See, Paul and the apostle Peter along with him measured suffering on a scale of life against the glory that was theirs to come and suffering was always light and glory was always great. The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans and he said, I consider that our present sufferings cannot even compare to the glory that will be revealed in us. See, the Bible is always pressing our perspective forward. But the question remains and Peter brings it back around again. The average person is going to say, Yeah, but what about now?

What about here and now? Peter's going to say a lot about that in a very brief phrase. In fact, one commentator called the next part of this verse a flurry of forceful verbs, four of them where he tells us something God is doing here and now. In fact, to get the picture, you can read the text this way. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

And himself is placed in front in the Greek text for emphasis. In other words, he's saying God himself will do this. See, because when we're in the middle of suffering and trouble and trial, we wonder if God even knows about it. Peter says, Hey, he doesn't even know about it.

Not only does he know about it, but he himself is involved in helping you in these four ways. Why? Because you're worthy? Because you didn't miss devotions?

No, because he is the God of all grace. And we live in it. We're surrounded by it. We're saturated by it. We can't exist a moment without it. We have no hope without it. Peter is telling us something here about these actions of God.

And I do need to mention this before we dive in. I don't want to bore you with grammar, but you need to know that the original construction of these four verbs isn't just futuristic. You might take it that way in the English text. You might understand this to say, you know, one day in the future, God is going to, he's going to, you know, perfect this in us. This confirmation is strengthening and establishing after you've suffered on earth. But the construction means that he, yes, will complete it then in the future, but he's going to be doing that here and now in your life, why you're suffering for a little while. So in light of that, I want to call these verbs four ways God provides healing for broken hearts. And you'll see why I've come up with those, those words. First of all, I'm going to put these into principle form and then we're going to look at the text.

First of all, the first of four principles. God mends your heart when life has broken it into pieces. The first word, God himself will perfect. And again, we immediately think of our perfected, glorified minds and hearts in heaven, eternal state.

But this is actually something God is doing right now in your life. The word appears 13 times in the New Testament. It means to put in order.

It means to arrange it. It was the common word in the first century for having a broken bone mended. Is your life coming apart? Is your heart broken? Has suffering made you come in this morning wondering if God is personally involved? Isn't suffering proof that he isn't? Peter would say that suffering is actually proof that he is involved.

He has arranged this to arrive at this moment. And wherever there is a broken heart, there is the divine physician mending and sewing like a seamstress who uses a sharp needle to make way for the thread. So God uses suffering to make way for that which will mend as he sews our broken hearts back together again. Because we earned it? Because we deserved that attention?

No. He is the God of all grace. Secondly, here's the principle and then we'll look at the word. God puts strength in your character when suffering tries to break you down. He goes on to add, he himself will perfect, that is mend, arrange.

But he'll also confirm you. That means to make firm. You could render it steadfastness. This is the word used by Luke in his Gospel account at chapter 9 and verse 51, for the Lord Jesus setting his face steadfastly toward Jerusalem. The Greek word is sterizo. It gives us our transliterated word steroid. There's a part of that which would be fitting.

Steroids can increase muscle strength and stamina as well as fight diseases. Peter is essentially saying you have been enrolled in a spiritual body building program and the gymnasium is entitled suffering and you go in there and discover your personal trainer is God himself. He wants to build into your lives steadfastness. The third action verb highlights another principle.

Here it is. God stands you on your feet when trials attempt to push you over. God will himself perfect, mend, confirm, build up, strengthen. This is the only place this word in this form is found in the entire New Testament.

It has to do with security. He will stand you securely. He'll anchor you.

You could have that idea. As the winds of affliction blow against your frail vessel, he stands you securely. Even when you succumb to the winds of adversity and fall over, God sees where you fell. He's aware of what crushes you. He sees your tears. He knows your weakness. If you buck up and deserve it, I'll stand you up. No, he's the God of all grace.

Let me work at helping you stand up. I came across this recently. When you send a letter, if you have, to the President of the United States, maybe you have, the letters that are sent first pass through the Secret Service who opens them and inspects them. Then they're passed along to the Office of Presidential Correspondence. The office was founded by President McKinley in 1897 to help him answer 100 letters a day that he was receiving.

It was amazing. By the time Herbert Hoover was President, the office was receiving 800 letters daily, every day. Today, the President of the United States gets tens of thousands of letters and emails every single day. Those who write assume he'll never see them, and they're correct, but someone does, the Director of Presidential Correspondence at the White House. That person has a staff of 45, along with 35 interns and 300 volunteers who read every letter. During his eight years in office, one former president I read about specifically requested to receive 10 letters of those tens of thousands to read every night before going to bed. So staff and interns and volunteers dug through the letters and the emails to figure out which ones they could pass up to the Director who then read, as their role required, 300 letters a day, and then that individual chose 10 of them and handed them off to another person who put them into a binder for the President to read before going to bed.

And I can imagine that those 10 letters would not be filled with disturbing messages that could potentially ruin his sleep. I think the average Christian goes through life as if his needs and requests and petitions are probably never going to make it into the Oval Office of Heaven. There's some angelic screening process. There's probably some angelic Director of Heavenly Correspondence in the way. And that person, that angel is going to choose 10 out of tens of millions of petitions every single day. And yours is not nearly significant enough to get through. Which is why, especially during times of suffering, we assume, God didn't get my letter. In fact, he's probably not even hearing my petition. No, Peter would say, God himself is directly involved in your life.

All the mail goes directly to him. And he reads it all. God not only mends your heart when life is broken and into pieces, he puts strength in your character when suffering tries to break you down, he stands you on your feet when trials attempt to push you over. Number four, fourthly, God stabilizes your life when trials attempt to destroy your foundation. Peter writes, God himself will perfect, mend, confirm, build up, strengthen, stand up. Now notice, God himself will establish you. This isn't redundancy.

Each verb has a little different nuance. This has the idea of laying a firm foundation. It has to do with not only standing you up on your feet, but standing you up on a firm foundation. The foundation around you might look like it might seem like it's crumbling.

Steven, you don't have any idea what's going on in my life. My foundation is shifting. It's trembling. God is promising, even now, to give you the support to anchor you, that is, upon this firm foundation.

In fact, the verb could be used to refer to this expression, God himself will settle you. See, suffering is a way of shaking us up and removing the props that we lean on and we discover in times of suffering that those props are counterfeit. I mean, they're cardboard. They're not strong. And he strips them away during times of suffering and reveals to us that underneath us all along are the everlasting arms, Deuteronomy 33.

Everything else is paper mache. He is our rock. David writes, I will not be shaken. That's the idea Peter's drawing from. He's not some impersonal granite foundation. He is a personal, involved, adjusting, mending God upon which we stand by means of his grace.

So what do you respond with to this God of all grace? You do what Peter does next. He just starts singing.

Peter breaks into a doxology. This is a hymn text that the early church sang. He might have composed this particular version of it. He's already sung it in Chapter 4, an earlier text. But he just begins to sing. And here are the lyrics. To him be dominion forever and ever.

Amen. And Peter knew what he was singing. He knew that it would become nothing less than treasonous to the emperor. And in a dozen years, it will be considered treason and Christians will begin dying as martyrs. You see, the Roman Caesar claimed for himself this word Peter uses, dominion. And the Caesars had every reason to believe that they were indeed dominating the whole world. I mean, here's Nero sitting in this pseudo-godlike splendor in a marble palace at the very heart of the world. All roads led to Rome. The tribute and tax all flowed into Nero's coffers. One word from him and armies would be mobilized and kingdoms topple and even more domains added to his dominion.

There were 10,000 slaves in the empire that simply served his needs, wishes and whims. If anybody had dominion, it was Nero. And Peter says, well, I know about this little song. It goes like this. Dominion belongs to God.

You can read about Rome in your history books because it's history. So he's purposefully and strategically adding to these lyrics to him belongs dominion. And how long? Forever and ever, which means back then into eternity past up until now and into the future.

That's forever and ever and ever and ever without ever ending. So what do you say about that? Amen. Peter adds that final word, which means it's true. And as the assembly, he wants us to agree together that this is indeed the truth. God enables us and strengthens us here and now.

And though it doesn't look like he's dominating our world, he and unto him belongs all dominion. He's arranging. He's mending.

He's strengthening. And in the meantime, we sing the lyrics of this doxology. Stephen called this lesson the healer of broken hearts. If you or someone you know might benefit from having access to this message in print, we've taken Stephen's message and turned it into a booklet. You can find this resource anytime on our website. But I want to encourage you to get a copy today. That's because we've made it available for free. All you need to do is cover the cost of shipping, and we'll get it out to you. Visit wisdom right now. Join us again next time for more wisdom for the hearts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 00:08:53 / 2023-03-20 00:17:41 / 9

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