Yesterday Catholics celebrated the second Sunday of Advent. It’s that amazing, wonderful, fabulous time of the year that prepares us to usher in pure goodness! It is the season of love and joy and hope renewed. Advent is also a time of struggle and waiting. There is anticipation in the understanding that Christ is coming, but there is also emptiness from knowing He has not yet come! Many single parents understand this anticipation and emptiness well. Intellectually they know Christ heals the broken hearted, but they struggle emotionally to believe healing will happen for them. As time drags on and life’s ups and downs continue, they may be left asking how does God heal a broken heart.
The readings from the second Sunday of Advent offer clues to how God heals the broken hearted. In the first from the Book of Isaiah chapter 40, you hear, “Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” These words were later made famous by John the Baptist. He is heard quoting them in Mark 1 when he says, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”
Think of what is being said here! Genesis took place prior to 1800 BC. Isaiah was written around 700 BC. This means God’s chosen people, His Beloveds, waited at least 2000 years for their Savior to be born! Think of waiting over 2000 years to be healed from your first parents’ sin! These early people knew of God’s healing power and believed in His promise but had little concrete proof of such for generations. How easy it would have been for them to turn their backs on God. Many of them did just that! Their lives were not made more fulfilling by doing so. Instead, the ones who hung on and grew their faith were rewarded. These are the ones who lived for a purpose greater than themselves. They passed faith and love down to their children and grandchildren. Through these descendants healing came and the hope for reunion in Heaven lives on!
That cannot be all there is though! If these early Christians had to simply live with the hope of “someday” without ever feeling God’s healing presence in their own lives, Judaism, never mind Christianity, would not have survived long. Human beings are not made that way. No matter how much we want to be altruistic, all of us have a bit of ego that needs to be placated and humbled. We cannot do this on our own. God must be invited to be part of our individual lives.
God does not just offer healing en masse. He does not offer healing just to future generations. God offers healing on an personal basis. He comes to each person in his or her own place of difficulty. He stretches out His hand in hardship and promises goodness to those who unite with Him. This goodness comes in forms far greater than material or superficial wealth. God offers healing in ways that are eternal and everlasting. The healing God offers, like the water Jesus offers to the woman at the well, cannot be drained. It cannot be taken from you. To learn more about this healing and how you can get it, consider these aspects of Sunday’s readings.
1. Comfort in Healing – Isaiah 40: 1
Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
God promises to give comfort to His people. Compare how God sees comfort to how you see it. Consider what you envision when you think of “comfort.” Is comfort sitting under a blanket watching old movies? Is it digging into a pan of homemade mac and cheese or dipping cookies in warm milk? Is it hanging out in flannel PJ’s scrolling through social media?
Your idea of comfort may be a long way off from the word’s original meaning. Comfort comes from the Latin words “con” and “fortare.” Together, these words mean “with strength” or “with fortitude.”
This gives you a very different idea of what God promises when He says He will give you comfort! When God offers comfort, He does not offer you ease and luxury. These are more akin to sloth, which is one of the seven deadly sins!
God’s healing calls you to more! He promises healing through strength! More encouragingly, He offers you His strength!
God offers you healing through strength. It may not be that he has not offered you healing yet this Advent. It may be that He offers you strength and the opportunity to be strong. The Lord God, who knows you better than you know yourself, knows that “healing” without strength is meaningless and short lived. He offers you a robust life rather than a “comfortable” one.
2. Do the Thing! – Isaiah 40: 3-4
A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Isaiah follows the promise of God’s comfort with directions for getting uncomfortable. These directions are not easy, but they are worthwhile!
Before studying Scripture, consider how you grow strong. Do you grow physically stronger by sitting on the couch and eating bonbons? No, you grow physically stronger by eating healthy foods and moving your body in ways that make your body protest! Do you get mentally stronger by reading romance novels or watching Tik Tok? No, grow mentally stronger by reading non-fiction, taking a course, or listening to intellectually stimulating podcasts. Do you grow socially stronger by hanging out with those who tell you what you want to hear or by sitting home alone feeling sorry for yourself? No, you grow socially stronger by expanding your circles, including people who love you enough to tell you painful truths, and seeking input from those who challenge you to be a better version of yourself. Do you grow spiritually stronger by allowing distraction in prayer, skipping the uncomfortable stuff in Confession, or avoiding Mass because you are “spiritual not religious?” No, you grow spiritually stronger through self-discipline, humility, and spending time obediently and lovingly with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Self-assuredness, confidence in your place in the world, and Almighty Grace come through doing what is hard. It does not come from doing what is easy. So few people are willing to do what is hard to get in shape, to grow more intelligent, to make more friends, and to grow closer to God.
How much harder is it to do what is hard to heal a broken heart?
The results of the above improvements are noticeable and shareable. They are public and celebrated. Healing a broken heart is different though. Heartbreak is private. It is not openly discussed. Pain is raw. Suffering cuts deep. Fear of what your broken heart might tell the world about your worth makes you too vulnerable.
There is much work to be done! Before God can heal your broken heart, you must let Him in! This can be challenging when you are caught in cycles of pain, but Isaiah makes clear internal work you need to do and Advent is the perfect time to reflect on this.
If you want Jesus to heal your broken heart, make straight your path for Him. Trust Him with your every valley, mountain, and hill. Open rugged and jagged pieces of your heart to Him. Work with Him to smooth rough edges into broad, fertile plains. Turn from the belief that healing is magical and embrace that God asks you to partner in your wellness.
3. Cry Out Good News! – Isaiah 40: 9
Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
You were born with a warrior’s instinct. That does not mean you were born to fight or must be particularly tough. It means you were born to look for the bad. It is natural to do so. Noticing dangers kept your ancestors alive. They watched the land for signs of predatory footprints – human or beast! They watched the skies for inclement weather. They watched the seasons for droughts and monsoons. They watched each other and themselves for signs of illness and injury.
Today, we still see that ancient survival programming in much of what we do. Think of modern news reports. Consider the common journalist’s idea that, “If it bleeds, it leads.” This makes the news agencies put the most negative story at the most prominent point of their broadcast. Pain and suffering interests people.
God tells you there is more to life than survival! He tells you to find the good! He tells you to climb a mountain and shout glad tidings! He tells you to cry out at the top of your voice and be a herald of good news!
How different this is from what you might see on social media and the bragging that is done there! This kind of heralding has its roots in humility and gratitude.
Studies have shown that keeping a daily gratitude journal does tremendous good. Scientific studies have shown that daily gratitude goes a long way toward healing. Isaiah 40 seems to be an early proponent of the gratitude journal, but it takes gratitude journaling one giant step forward. Isaiah seems to tell you to not hide yourself quietly away in your room when you are grateful. He says not to record secret good thoughts in a book no one will ever see. He says, the Lord tells you to climb a mountain and cry out at the top of your voice all the good things the Lord is doing in your life!
Here, your mindset shift might be knowing that to heal, you must act as if you are already blessed beyond measure – because you are! You choose to see the good God has placed around you and to express your gratitude for it! When someone asks how you are doing, respond with something wonderful and thank God for that!
4. God’s Timing – 2 Peter 3: 8
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a backhanded compliment? This almost feels like that. In The first verse we are called “beloved.” Immediately after we are reminded that with the Lord, one day is like 1000 years and 1000 years like one day. This seems to contradict the fact that we are God’s beloved, when we are also God’s suffering. If God loves us so much, we may be tempted to ask Why He does not provide an instant healing.
we see story after story in the gospels of Jesus instantly healing the afflicted. They come to him on their own, or brought by friends. Some, like the Centurion servant, don’t even have to come on their own. Just having someone go to the Lord, for them is enough for instant healing. Jesus heals the blind. He helps the lame to walk. He even raises the dead.
With all of the healings that take place in the Bible, I do not remember one that involves healing a broken heart. Perhaps that is what he did with Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well, or the woman caught in adultery, but scripture does not tell us this. In these cases, we are simply told that the woman was saved from her sin.
If you’ve ever been totally in completely in love with someone, you understand how quickly time passes when you are together. It makes the verse one day is like one thousand years and one thousand years like one day more understandable. Time passes quickly when you are together. Time crawls when you were apart.
I believe we don’t see Jesus, explicitly heal the brokenhearted, because He is Love itself. God is love. You are his beloved. He longs for you. He waits for you. He misses you when you are not with him. He loves you, totally, unconditionally, and eternally. Well, there is much that you can do to help the Lord mend your broken heart, he knows that what your heart truly belongs for is union with Love Himself. This kind of love is found only in the eternity of heaven.
Here your mindset shift may be that, instead of looking for instant healing, you look for the long road. You stop trying to make things happen on your timeline and work on those valleys that need to be filled in and mountains that need to be made low. God is telling you, He is here for you and that you have an eternity to dwell in Love and Peace.
Remember that negativity bias you learned about earlier? It may be coming into play when reading this as well. Change your thinking. Here, what may have seemed like a backhanded compliment is really a Father’s gentle urging not to rush things. It may be a Lover’s simple whisper to take it slow and to enjoy the lead up. It may be that this is the Lord, God of ALL telling you He is thrilled to spend eternity with you, His beloved!
5. God is Not too Late – 2 Peter 3: 9
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
Continuing the idea of 1000 years is like a day, and a day is like 1000 years, we are a short hair that the Lord does not delay his promise as some regard “delay.” You must remember that God‘s timing is perfect always. If he is waiting on something you can be assured that it is something powerful and good.
God’s healing is never delayed. He is not caught in. Unexpected traffic jams. He is not slow down by cranky children. He is not sidetracked by scrolling through social media. God is never delayed.
Your mindset shift, for this is to consider that you may be the one who are delayed. This is not meant to beat up on yourself. You get enough of that already. Instead, This Is, the Lord, your creator and father in heaven. He is patient with you. He waits for you to learn the lessons needed. He knows the obstacles you provide you comfort through strength. He is willing to let you train and learn. he wants you to get the satisfaction of seeing the rugged lands made into a plane and your rough country into a broad valleys. He wants you to work hand-in-hand with him. He does not want you to try to do it on your own as so many or app to do. he waits for you to invite him in. He waits not as a hero in a cape to swoop in and take over. He waits as Isaiah 40 tells us, “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms, he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.”
no, the Lord is not delayed! he is simply patient and perfect. You are his beloved. He knows what you can handle, and when you can handle it. In his wisdom, He sees things you cannot. In His Love, He protects you from what you cannot see. In His patience, He waits offering complete healing at just the right time.
6. Healing for ALL – 2 Peter 3: 9
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
Your pain is personal. At times it may seem all consuming. It may be easy to think that you were the only one who understands. It is simple to feel alone.
But God reminds us constantly that we are not alone. We can think back to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. How alone he must’ve felt there! How he must’ve wished that you would repent so he would not have to suffer. How he must’ve longed for you to join your heart to his. How willing was he to give all he had for you?
Jesus sees things that you do not. he sees your suffering, but he sees the suffering of others too. He loves you totally and completely. This is not the selfish shallow affection of a jealous infatuation. This love is tender, and patient as you have already seen. It is a giving of Himself to live and grow within you. It is like the love of a mother of multiple children. It is a love that has never divided no matter how many children are loved.
the Lord sees your story, he sees your pain. He knows intimately you’re suffering and betrayal. He knows the devastation of your broken heart. he knows what it is like to be betrayed by a kiss.
He also knows the power that you have to influence others for good. The Lord loves all his children. He does not wish any to perish. He wishes that all should come to repentance. He wants to spend eternity in heaven in love with you and with those who hurt you.
This is such a difficult concept! it is even harder for those who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. To be fully healed, you must understand and welcome the fact that God loves those who hurt you. To be fully healed, you must live your life in such a way that you inspire others to love the Lord as well.
Your mindset shift here is that healing’s road is not long because God delays, but because you hold back. You may have a hard time, considering the one who caused you such pain could be worthy of so much love, yet he is. You may have a hard time, thinking of spending an eternity in heaven, with one who caused your children so much suffering, but that is what the Lord wants.
When we think of heaven, we must realize that none of us will be the same once we get there. The person who hurt you and your children is in grave danger of spending an eternity in Hell. For him to get to heaven, he must repent. He must be completely changed. He must act different, look different, love different. To do this, he needs role models. This is not a role model who puts herself at risk or exposes her heart. This is a strong role model. This is a woman who has boundaries and values. This is a woman who seeks comfort in God.
What’s more, is that none of this is about your ex or about anyone who hurt you. This is about you and your healing. In order for you to be OK with whoever God allows him into heaven, you will need to be completely different. You will know your worth. You will know your value. You will know the meaning of love. You will be able to love without restraint and to be loved doubt. You will know who you are in the eyes of God. No one and nothing can take that away from you.
more even than those who hurt you getting to heaven, the woman you become when you submit to God‘s will, for another, allows you to be the kind of woman that show your children how to get to heaven. The obstacles, you face, the forgiveness, you offer, the comfort, you provide, all play apart in the repentance of those who cause your pain but more importantly, they play a big part in the repentance and eternal love of those you love. Your healing plays apart in the salvation of others.
7. What Sort of Person ? – 2 Peter 3:
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
You already know that in heaven, you will be completely changed. There is no reason to wait until after death for such changes though. Life here on earth is hard. Heartbreak in one former another is part of life. Whether it is from your first middle school crush, the death of a spouse you’ve slept next to you for 50 years, or anything in between, the loss of love, means a loss of innocence and naivety.
One thing, it doesn’t mean though, is that you have an excuse to live anything less than a holy and devoted life. When it is tempting to cocoon away from the world or to lash out at those who may hurt you, God calls you to healing through doing the next right thing. Some days it is going through the motions. You may not feel like doing what is right, but it is in the ritual that you take your next step. It is one of the beautiful things about the Catholic Mass. On the days you don’t have the bandwidth to go all in, you still get to participate as part of the part body of Christ. By standing together and publicly stating your beliefs and asking for help as a sinner, you grow closer to the perfection. You will attain in heaven. This is the greatest healing of all.
your mindset shift for this section is to understand that you don’t do what is right because you want to or because others are. You do what is right because it is right and there is healing in doing what is right.
Conclusion – How Does God Heal a Broken Heart? – Mark 1: 8
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
It’s so hard when we imagine. Healing will take place in a certain way, and then it does not happen. The Jew assumed the Messiah would swoop in and rescue them as a political figure. Early followers of Jesus could not understand how His death on the cross, His doing the right thing, His Sacrifice led to their healing, their repentance and their salvation.
Today, some single parents doubt when instant happiness, like that seen in old Hallmark movies, does not fall in their lap. They Have ideas of how God will heal them. They want to tell him what to do and what that healing will look like.
God has his own ideas. We do not know his ways, but we know they are good. Our ancestors have told us for thousands of years,
Make straight your paths for the Lord is coming to heal. You can help your healing by being ready for Him.
If you want to share a bit of your story with me or if you would like coaching or have questions or topics you’d like me to write about, please reach out. I love hearing from my readers! Kerri