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Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Struggle of Faith

"Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted." Ps 147

Having our hearts broken is pretty difficult to avoid if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to life as it comes each day. Standing by with nothing to say to a young man or woman whose marriage has collapsed is painful and unnerving. Helping an older woman bury a beloved husband after 50 or 60 years of marriage is a privilege but a very painful one. Most difficult for me has been burying babies who live only a few weeks or years, and teenagers who take their own life. While the people who have had to endure this kind of suffering wonder if they will ever recover, the psalmist is clear: God heals the brokenhearted.

Job didn't know this when he said, "I shall never see happiness again."(Jb 7:7) His heart was broken and he did not know why. Though he had tried to live an upstanding life, even his best friends had no answers for him. It felt to him like God, who promised always to be his guide, had abandoned him. He had no answers and was hurt and angry. Job wanted God to see life as he saw it, and to reward him for living according to the dictates of the Torah, but God does not see life as we see it, and therein lies the rub.

God promises to be faithful, to walk with us, to guide us, but not to interfere in the normal course of human life. God is with us, not as a fixer of broken lives, but as a companion to the brokenhearted. Only when we realize that God is with us at the center of our emptiness and loss will we find enough light and strength to hear the words, "I am with you always, until the end of the age," (Mt 28:20)

Today, walk with someone whose heart is broken and say nothing.

How does your faith help you face loss and disappointment/

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