Tyndale House Publishers
Brokenhearted. Crushed in spirit. Does that describe the state of your soul? Are you wondering if you will ever feel good again, ever feel hope again? Are you desperate to find a salve to sooth the searing emotional or physical pain that has invaded your existence?
Your feelings may tell you that God is very far away from you right now. But the reality is that he is drawn to you. If you have invited God into your life, he is especially near to you now because you need him so desperately.
You may feel that no one wants to be around you. Deep down we know that it is not a lot of fun to be with someone who is sad. But God loves brokenhearted people. He doesn’t avoid them. He is closer to you now than ever, waiting to talk with you, comfort you, and offer you hope and healing as you face the future.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18
I weep with grief; encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your law. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your laws. —Psalm 119:28-30
When we are hurting, it seems like everyone wants to fix us. And advice is often freeflowing. Well-meaning friends and family tell us what to do and how to feel, only adding to our confusion. And then there’s the voice inside our own minds speaking to us too. Oh, the painful thoughts that go through our heads when the hurt is deep! I will never be able to be happy again. My life is over. I will be alone forever. God must not love me. God must be punishing me. I am such a failure.
The psalmist must have recognized this voice and realized it is a voice that cannot be trusted. “Keep me from lying to myself,” he said. In the midst of personal pain, he was desperate to hear the truth and live by the truth. He knew that emotions lie to us and people mislead us, but God’s Word speaks the truth we are desperate for, even as we weep with grief.
So how do we keep from lying to ourselves in the midst of pain? Instead of believing the voice inside us that says, “God must not care about me,” we gaze upon the God we see throughout Scripture who lovingly cares for his own. Even when our feelings tell us, “I will never feel good again,” we hold tightly to the truth that God “heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Am I talking about denying real feelings by quoting quips and clichés? Not at all. Honestly, I resent it when someone seems to pat me on the head with a Bible verse in a way that seems to devalue my genuine hurt and dismiss my deep questions. I’m talking about confronting our very real fears, feelings, and thoughts with scriptural truth. I’m talking about digging deep in God’s Word to figure out who he is and what his purposes are in the world and in our lives. Truth soothes our fears, changes our feelings, and shapes our thoughts. The truth is what we need most when the hurt is the deepest. Would you walk through the Scripture with me over the year ahead in search of truth to soothe your soul?
My Source for what is true, I desperately need the encouragement that I know can only come from your Word. Open my eyes to the truths that can dispel the doubt and discouragement I feel from the lies I have listened to.
Read as much of Psalm 119 as you have time for, noting the benefits of studying and knowing God’s Word when you’re hurting. What does the psalmist ask God for that you also want to ask of God?