by Ted Kyle
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified" (Isa. 61:1-3).
Jehovah God was not talking merely to the ancient Jews, nor only to the hurting among us, but to all of us. I'm convinced that every child of God carries the memory of wounds experienced in our walk with the Lord. Anyone who can sing of himself, "There are no scars on me," either has a terrible memory or is still in the honeymoon stage of his "newness of life" in Christ.
I say this to preface the real point I see in the text: God is talking to the "walking wounded" and the recovered walking wounded among us-and that quite possibly includes (or will ultimately include) us all. He is talking to everyone who has discovered-or needs to discover-a personal message in Psalm 51:17: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."
This is not the same brokenness spoken of in Proverbs 17:22 ("A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones"). That is unhealthy depression. The "good" brokenness is the brokenness of pride of self: The ever-present desire of the flesh to rule itself-to maintain: "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul" (from "Invictus," by William Ernest Henley [1849-1903]). We need to recognize our constant dependence on our Maker-and to revel in that awareness.
And if we do this, Father has a very special joy reserved for us. It's not the joy of newborns. It's the joy of Christians who have experienced tragedy and heartache; who have known what it is like to suffer mockery and rejection for their faith; who have walked with their God and found Him able to do all that He promises, and so much more.
Brokenness is a wonderful attribute for children of God! It's a sacrifice we need to offer God every day.
Ted Kyle is managing editor of Pulpit Helps magazine.