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Today's Family Meditation

A broken-hearted parent

Genesis 37
31. Then the brothers killed a goat and spattered its blood on Joseph's coat,
32. and took the coat to their father and asked him to identify it. "We found this in the field," they told him. "Is it Joseph's coat or not?"
33. Their father recognized it at once. "Yes," he sobbed, "it is my son's coat. A wild animal has eaten him. Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces."
34. Then Israel tore his garments and put on sackcloth and mourned for his son in deepest mourning for many weeks.
35. His family all tried to comfort him, but it was no use. "I will die in mourning for my son," he would say, and then break down and cry.

Here is a parent who shows all the characteristics of broken-heartedness.
He was absolutely distraught and wept constantly.
He tore his garments and put on sackcloth - which was the way they expressed grief publicly in their culture.
Everyone could see that he was in mourning for weeks on end.

The sense of loss that he felt seemed to be unending, and caused him not to be able to be comforted even by others he loved and who also loved him.
Though we sometimes do not show our broken-heartedness so publicly, we can all identify with Jacob in this time of deep distress in his life.
This suffering also had a history where Jacob was concerned.

The mother of the son he had lost was Rachel, the one true love of his life. Rachel had borne him this son Joseph, late in Jacob's life. Then Rachel had died in child-birth with their second son, Benjamin. These two boys - but particularly Joseph - were the apple of his eye - the only people through whom he could keep his love for Rachel alive in his heart.

Then Joseph was unexpectedly snatched from him, and in such an apparently cruel manner!
His heart had been broken when Rachel died, and now his heart was again broken in the same place, by the loss of his son Joseph.

When God allowed this incident to be included in the scriptures, it was so that we would understand that HE understands that broken-heartedness is something real and valid in the human experience.
Though the causes for each of us may be different and vary greatly, we need to acknowledge that it has happened, and that our hearts are sick for this period of time.

Our problem is that some of us spend too much time and energy grieving and get stuck there, and others of us gloss over it and try to move on with our lives without grieving at all. Both of these approaches are unhealthy.

Father, today I want to acknowledge that these events … (name them to Him) … have caused my heart to be broken.
Lord, please bring me into balance so that I grieve enough to relieve my heart in a healthy manner, but I also decide to put my faith in You and know that I have not lost You in all of this, and so there is hope.
Today I put my hope in You,
in Jesus' name,