Healing a broken heart...
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners...
Prophet Isaiah predicted Messiah would do it--then Jesus claimed that Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled in His Own Self (Isaiah 61, Luke 4). He went around healing, not only physical, but emotional and spiritual diseases---including broken hearts.
Surprisingly, medical researchers at Johns Hopkins University have now identified a medical condition called stress cardiomyopathy, also called "broken heart syndrome." This new research shows that tragic or shocking life events—including loss of a loved one, a car accident, armed robbery, a fierce argument—can cause a sudden surge in adrenaline that weakens heart muscles. According to the lead author of the John Hopkins study, "It looked like a heart attack in the sense that the EKGs were abnormal, the blood work was abnormal, but when you went to the [lab], the arteries had no blockages."
The patients had very few or none of the typical risk factors for heart disease. But the emotional pain they experienced had literally stunned their heart, making it feel like they were having classic heart attack symptoms, including chest pain, fluid in the lungs, and shortness of breath.
In some cases, broken heart syndrome can be as dangerous as a real heart attack, although after treatment, most patients quickly recover. But in all cases, broken heart syndrome hurts just as much as a real heart attack. Research has also shown that the same regions of the brain that signal physical pain are also activated when we feel emotional pain, such as grief or rejection. **
So when the Bible talks about the anguish of the broken-hearted, it's describing real hurt and real pain. As one doctor said about patients with this condition, "We'll definitely be paying more attention now than before to patients who are grieving." I contend that one cannot throw a rock in a crowd and not hit a broken heart. Do you regularly say, "May I pray for you?" We represent Jesus and his good news well when we pray for broken hearts to be mended, healed, and restored. I am constantly among the broken-hearted who have been healed by King Jesus...aren't you?
Dreading not the Day of Valentine, Perry Floyd
** "Healthy and the Broken Heart" The New York Times (6-1-10)