Psalm 34:18

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

A few thoughts…

This verse has been my lifeline on more than one occasion. I love Psalms… it’s so honest, and so relevant to just about every situation in life, especially the more difficult ones. I first started clinging to this verse as a simple reminder that God is always, always there, and not only does He stay by our sides when we are at our lowest, but He heals us.

I had a realization the other night that there is more meaning to this verse than even that.

When something has gone wrong, when I’ve been hurt or had my heart broken, I have had the tendency to go to one of two extremes: Once, I let myself get so absorbed in my pain that I all but forgot about God, and more often I’d deny my pain, thinking admitting I was hurting meant I wasn’t having enough faith in God to be my strength or my Healer. It only took one good (figurative) slap across the face from God to remind me that the first tendency is nothing but a sure-fire way to bury myself deeper in whatever my problem may be, making it that much harder to escape from.

The second tendency, however, was much harder for me to break myself of, and I’m not even sure I can say yet that I’ve completely broken myself of it. But the other aspect of this verse that God showed me is that not only is He still with me in my pain, but it is okay to be in pain. God, I have seen time and time again, is very good at waiting for us at our lowest points so He can pick us up when we can’t stand on our own anymore. When we try to run from the pain or ignore it or deny it or push it aside, rather than facing it, in a way, that’s often resisting God. Sometimes we have to be broken for Him to put us back together the way we’re supposed to be. Crushed in spirit. Not just battered or discouraged, but crushed, nothing left to contain ourselves, at a point where God alone can work.

We don’t have to –and in fact shouldn’t— run from pain. Because often, that’s exactly where God wants us. Because that’s exactly where He is, waiting with His loving arms to save us.
Psalm 34:18

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