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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Can you imagine the excitement David must have felt when he was called down from the mountain to meet with the great prophet Samuel? Add to that the stunning announcement that someday, he, David, a mere shepherd boy would be King of Israel? Amazing!

He couldn’t have been more than 16 or 17 at the time. Life was ahead of him and even though he must have loved the shepherding and farming life his father instilled in him, the intrigue of the city and fame and fortune had to have had the same allure then as it does now. I imagine David walked just a little taller among the sheep when he returned to his post in the fields.

Then add in the whole incident with that giant, Goliath. There are lots of reasons stated out there for why David slew Goliath; the precision of his shot, the trust in God, Goliath not taking him (or his God) seriously. But I think there was probably a good measure of adrenaline behind that stone that day. After all, he was David, the future King!

But then life came crashing down for David. Psalm 34 was written when he ‘escaped’ from his own homeland to enemy territory. The very Philistines that produced Goliath; the very nation he hated so much; the one place in the world he would never want to find himself, became his sanctuary.

The once proud, confident David became an actor, pretending to be a lunatic in enemy territory so he’d be protected from Saul, and pitied by the Philistines. I can’t help but imagine the despondency, the fear, the disappointment in his heart.

Have you been there? Have you found yourself in a place you never thought you’d be in? Dealing with guilt for an affair you never thought you’d put yourself in? Struggling with credit card debt and other financial woes that you vowed you’d never get your family into…again? Struggling with the pain of broken relationships or failing health?

David likens it to a crushed spirit. The original languages give the word picture of being smashed by a hammer. Obliterated. Destroyed. Nothing left that resembles your heart. No use picking up the pieces. They are to shattered, to broken, to be of any value.

But listen to David’s words. God comes close to those who are broken. As an omnipresent God, he is always near of course. But during those times of grief; during those times when life is beyond disappointing, it’s dreadfully painful, your Heavenly Father, the God of the universe, bends low to hear your cry; to feel your pain; to comfort you.

Life doesn’t always take us where we thought we’d be, but it never takes us away from a God who is passionately in love with you.

PRAYER: Father God, I pray today for those who are hurting; for those who’s hearts have been smashed by the hammer of life. May they sense your presence and feel your comforting love. Amen.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 (NLT)

Tragedy brings people together. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and the devastation of conflict or famine awaken a part of us that says, “I’ll help you”. Those motivate to help aren’t limited to social class, race or ethnic groups or religious orientation. In fact, sometimes those who are the most financially insecure are the ones who will give more (percentage-wise) than the wealthy.

All of that is good, but sometimes the biggest hurts people experience are the ones where they suffer alone. A broken heart doesn’t show itself in public. We’ve learned how to hide that behind a false smile, and various activities like drugs, new relationships, political and social action or even religion. Some people spend their entire lives doing ‘things’ to try to cure the pain of a broken heart.

Perhaps one of the hardest things to deal with in relation to a broken heart is that we often suffer alone. Oh, we have friends and neighbors who bring food and comfort during times of mourning and illness. There’s often community and government help to rebuild houses and businesses destroyed by natural disaster. But while that may help soothe the pain, it doesn’t cure the pain.

All the food and all the human comfort and all the financial support in the world won’t heal a broken heart. That’s where Jesus comes in. Well meaning friends and compassionate governments can restore physical property, but only Jesus can come alongside you and completely understand your pain. He may not remove the obstacles in your life, but he can give strength to endure in the battle.

It was Jesus who stood beside the mom who’d lost her daughter. It was Jesus who wept over the death of a dear friend. It was Jesus who stood by the desperate father of a demon-possessed, seizure stricken little boy. It was Jesus who brought hope to the woman at the well, a victim of broken relationships, who’d not only had five husbands, but after five divorces she could no longer take the chance of failing again.  It was Jesus who provided the food for over 5,000 hungry men, women and children. He calmed storms, gave hope to the crippled and restored those victimized by religious intolerance.

What is your struggle today? What pain are you hiding because no one else understands? Jesus Christ promises to come along side you. He understands your pain like no one else. He alone can bring peace in the midst of your storm.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Although I’m smiling on the outside for the world to see, my soul aches today. No one understands how I feel. I’m afraid to share my true feelings with those around me for fear of being misunderstood. Thank you for understanding me. Comfort me in my distress. In your name I pray, Amen.

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June 2023
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