June 8, 2018
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
Denial is a wrecking ball. It’ll clear some space for a while, but sooner or later it’ll double back on you and then … look out.
I sat on our red loveseat in darkness, unable to bring myself to switch on the lamp. All I could think was, How did this happen?
Inside the brick walls of our suburban ranch, the rooms were still and quiet.
In the silence, denial became impossible. The emptiness I’d carried around for days split open, unearthing long-forgotten pain.
The inadequacy that scarred my childhood, and the sense that I’d never be good enough knotted in my throat. I swallowed hard as if sheer force of will could change reality.
I leaned forward, elbows on my knees and chin cupped in my hands. With my children tucked between cotton sheets, the tears spilled like a balm.
They ushered in the unmistakable moan of grief. Days before, a loved one’s choices plowed through our family. The consequences crushed a gaping hole into the family landscape and my heart.
The impact was devastating. The family I envisioned forever changed. My hopes and dreams reduced to rubble. My grief was so deep, I physically hurt.
I wonder if you would tell me I’m not alone. That you’re hiding from heartbreak, too. I wonder if you’ve felt the sting of words that can’t be taken back — or spoken at all. If your loss seems impossible to overcome.
Maybe someone you love did the unthinkable and no amount of prayer, whispered or groaned, will undo what was done.
I wish I could erase our pain. I can’t. We have an enemy who plots to distract us with disappointment and bury us alongside our losses. But I know this: God is near.
When we’re suffering, it’s tempting to believe God has abandoned us. We may mistake a faith-filled life for a life free from pain. The Bible is brimming with stories of flourishing faith despite painful circumstances.
David, a man after God’s own heart, was anointed the next king of Israel. But that didn’t happen right away, so instead of wearing a crown, he ran for his life as then-King Saul pursued him. As David fled, he penned today’s key verse: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
The Hebrew word David chose to describe God's presence, karov, means God is close enough to touch. God is close enough to touch the hurt in our lives, too. When He does, our pain serves a purpose.
A year later, I found myself on a sofa again. I leaned in as tears flowed from my friend’s eyes. She told a story like my own. When I wrapped my arms around her, I discovered something I hadn't noticed before. God used my suffering to cultivate compassion and strength within me.
My struggle prepared me to walk right into hers. It gave me the confidence to look into her eyes and assure her she's not alone. If I faced this and grew stronger, she could, too.
Jesus described it this way, “Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal” (John 12:24, MSG).
Hope sprouts in the hurt. When we face truth with God, pain becomes possibility. Heartache becomes an open door to experience God with deeper intimacy — an invitation to have more of Him, real and eternal.
If you’re heartbroken, it's OK to let the tears fall and hand what remains to Jesus. Even in the desolate landscape of a grieving heart, hope takes root.
Dear Lord, help me accept the difficult circumstances in my life. Thank You for staying by my side, even when the hardships of life seem to have come between us. I hand You my heartache today, and I trust You to use my pain for a greater purpose in others’ lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (NLT)
Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” (NLT)
Do you have a story to tell of how God has used your hurt from the past? If so, guess what? For the next 24 hours only, we’re holding a pop-up registration for COMPEL Training membership! Pursue your call to write by signing up — you’ll receive all the tools and skills you need to sharpen your skills and exercise your talent. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight, so don’t wait! Click here to learn more.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what ways have the trials you’ve faced brought you closer to God? Have you ever been able to comfort someone or been comforted by someone else because you’d been through a similar situation? How do these experiences give you hope? Join the conversation, and let us hear from you today!
© 2018 by Heather Kernick Carr. All rights reserved.