Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
As I write this, my family is getting ready to remember several losses in our family. On January 25th, we lost my great-grandmother (my mom’s grandmother) and my aunt (my dad’s sister), two years apart. My great-grandmother died at the age of 94, after a life well lived. She was ready to go home to be with Jesus. Although we were sad that she died, we knew that death was a blessing for her. My aunt died unexpectedly of a heart attack when I was a senior in college. One minute she was with us, and the next she was gone. We were heartbroken that she was no long with us. I struggled with my grief and with anger that she died after she had finally gotten her life together.
You may wonder why I tell this story and yet the title is “Praise the Lord!” Because in Psalm 147:3, we read, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” He heals the brokenhearted. Because we live in a world that at times is filled with disease, pain, and death, we will all be brokenhearted at some point. But take heart and praise the Lord, because not only does He “determine the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (verse 4), He heals our broken hearts and He binds our wounds. When your heart is broken, you feel wounded. Perhaps no one can see your wounds on the outside, but on the inside it feels as if you are breaking. But the Lord doesn’t leave you alone in your pain. He sees your pain and He comforts you, He binds your wounds and He walks beside you. Eventually you don’t feel as broken. You never forget, but your wounds do heal. And that is why we can praise the Lord, even in the midst of the pain.
• Talk to your family about a time when God healed your broken heart, when He bound your wounds. Were you able to still praise Him? Were you angry with Him?
• If you were angry with God, talk to your children about how it’s okay to be angry with God sometimes, that God does understand. Talk about how sometimes we don’t understand why things happen, but we know that God can use those bad things to do something good with them.
• Make sure to tell your children that God doesn’t take anyone away from us, that death happens because we live in a sinful world. Our bodies aren’t made to last forever. But when someone we know dies, Jesus welcomes them with open arms. (If your child is old enough, you can talk to them about how that person needs to believe in Jesus, but the point of this conversation is that God doesn’t take their loved one away, but that when that loved one dies, God welcomes them home.)
The Bible Story
Read Psalm 147:1-11, 20c. Here it is from the NIV:
“Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love…Praise the LORD.?
• If your child has experienced loss, ask them how they felt when it happened. Talk about how God comforts us. Ask them how they feel now.
• If your child hasn’t experienced loss yet, talk about how they might feel if someone they loved died.
• As a family, discuss how you can find the good things that God is doing even when you’re sad.
Action and Prayer
• Has someone you know recently lost a loved one? Find ways to help them this week: take them a meal, bake cookies for them, take their children to school, listen to stories about their loved one, etc.
• Thank God for comforting our hearts and for helping us heal after a loss. Praise God that He knows all of the stars and yet He cares for us and is always there. If you are grieving, ask God to heal your broken heart.
Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.
Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.