The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those
whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles;
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
- Psalm 34:18-19
When I began high school it was back in 2007. Within the year leading up to that, I had experienced physical and verbal abuse, loneliness, rejection, depression, a family member’s death, moving, not to mention all the hormonal and emotional changes a young teenager goes through. From high school until now, Psalm 34 has been one that I have been drawn back to repeatedly. Its truth never fails to shout from the pages in powerful tenderness.
“I will praise the Lord at all times” is how it begins. All times. These past few months have been utterly challenging for me. So much chaos in my personal life with familial situations, spiritual warfare wrecking havoc, my heart shattering once again. Recently my job, which isn’t ideal, changed several dynamics to my position and hours, which has a large impact on me. The few people I consider friends live in other states, hours away, resulting in having little to no local support system in the midst of my hurt. How can I praise God in this? Where is His beauty amongst these ashes?
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me
from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant
with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my
desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened.
- Psalm 34:4-6a
Even in the heartache, the challenges, the sorrow, the fear, the lack of understanding, our God remains steadfast. He remains present. I haven’t known how to pray lately and I think that’s because I don’t know how to verbally express my thoughts and emotions. But He knows. He knows my heart and thoughts far better than I do. His Spirit can interpret my groanings and He intercedes on my behalf (Romans 8:26-27). These emotions that are overwhelming, these thoughts that question, these devastating situations, this trembling faith, they do not determine nor limit what God can and will do in my life.
Verse 8 reminds us that God is good and when we take refuge in Him we can experience joy. Joy seems like such a foreign concept to me right now, but that’s because we live in a world that is all about doing what makes one feel happy. Happiness is based off earthly circumstances whereas joy is found in Christ, regardless of circumstance. Joy is something greater, something that is of eternal nature. It is only when I seek Him truly and genuinely do I come to meet Joy in a personal way.
... for those who fear Him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. - Psalm 34:9b-10
I am twenty-six. A lot of people would consider this a prime age, but let me tell you, I am exhausted. I am always fatigued. I am already battle weary, and like young lions, I have my moments of want, of need, of weakness. Yet, if I remain steadfast in my Savior, if I abide in His vine, the lacking of no good thing consists of sometimes just daily manna’s worth of strength and provision. God understands life far more than I do and He will meet my needs where they are with only what it needs. Abundance is a gift, but not every situation calls for it.
The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
- Psalm 34:18
In life I have faced rejections and betrayals, closed doors of opportunities, shattering of dreams, the reality of life’s harshness and it’s fallen nature. Some days it catches up to me and I cannot handle it. The other day I was driving home from church by myself and was overcome with emotion. This situation in my family is very complicated and volatile, and it has led to estrangement between myself and two other family members in particular. The devil is having a field day attacking us and sometimes it feels like he is winning (read Revelation and you’ll know he never has the victory). I tried hard to hold the tears back but was reminded of how Christ was rejected by His own family. He was rejected by His hometown, His neighbors and those He grew up next to. He was rejected by the church, by His own race and the Gentiles. Every day God the Father is constantly and often profanely rejected by His own creation, whom He specifically designed to love and have relationship with.
He is close to the brokenhearted because He Himself has been and is brokenhearted. He understands my pain at the same level as mine and beyond. Christ is referred to as a man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) and deeply, intimately, knows rejection and suffering. He sympathizes with us greatly but unlike us, we who cannot comfort and heal ourselves by ourselves, His Holy Spirit has been sent as an advocate, a helper who provides us spiritual comfort (John 14:26). God can comfort the brokenhearted, but He also goes a step further and can rescue and redeem.
But the LORD will redeem those who serve Him. No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned. - Psalm 34:22
No one. There is not a single exception of a devout believer of God being condemned. This final verse brings the whole passage full circle. By serving God and seeking refuge in Him I am praising Him; I praise Him because I am serving Him and have sought refuge.
These times of chaos, broken-heartedness, loneliness and raging emotions, they are not too big for God to handle. They are not foreign to Him; He too has experienced such things, and because of that reality, we can find comfort in His Spirit. We find a loving Christ who will weep with us, understanding our pain fully. We find provision and rescuing in a God who deeply desires to have a relationship with us.
1. Do I seek God in times of brokenness and chaos or do I focus more on my circumstances and pain?
2. What Scripture do I need to read and believe when I experience______?
Father, thank You for being ever faithful. My heart aches for Your pain just as I know Yours does for mine. I am so grateful for a loving God like You, who came to earth and experienced life here, understanding firsthand in the flesh the heartaches and sorrows of mankind, and then to die in my place on the cross to save me. I ask that You open my eyes to where the good things are that You have provided me with so I can specifically thank You for them. Grant me comfort and peace during this time, that I may come to know Your joy in a profound way. Help me to continue to serve You and praise You all the days of my life.
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