- Pastor John Smith
There is a heart condition that plagues many people these days. It is not recognized by the American Heart Association, nor is it cured by a healthy diet or exercise. What is this condition that affects millions, you ask? It is the brokenness of heart.
As I am writing this, there are many people struggling with a broken heart, perhaps even you. Whether it is the latest tragedy on the news, the loss of a loved one due to cancer, a seemingly healthy marriage dissolving right before your eyes, whatever it is, it seems as if brokenness has become the norm.
In some respect, it is and has always been, since the fall in Adam. As the Scripture says in Romans 5:12, that sin entered the world through Adam and by consequence, not only did we become fallen in nature, but our entire existence, even the natural world, has been subjected to futility and brokenness (Romans 8:20). It is as if we are living in a dystopic movie, where all that surrounds us are bombed out and broken down buildings, a scorched earth scenario if you will, and we were responsible for it.
It is not as if the prevailing message of the world helps the broken heart. The media seems to only fixate on the negative, the more salacious the news story the better, because it brings in the ratings. Our music and movies have become increasingly nihilistic—a philosophy that life is devoid of any substantial meaning or purpose. Moreover, the theory of evolution, which at one time was touted as liberation from religious dogma, has not brightened the days of our society, but instead has darkened it substantially, by asserting that you are nothing more than a product of slime plus time plus chance, and that the emotions you feel such as love, joy, even sorrow are nothing more than brain fizz, a mere chemical reaction.
Yet in spite of this, the message of Christ stands in contrast to the message of the world, and it reveals the very nature and character of God. God, who knows fully your situation and the fractured and brokenness of your heart, moves in close with compassion. In other words, the gospel presents the truth that God is very near to those who are hurting.
I love Psalm 34. Verses like verse 8 where it reads “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” seem to resonate in my soul and prove yet again how satisfying it is to have God and to be in relationship with him. But Psalm 34 is especially impactful to those who are emotionally hurting, because it represents and reinforces a truth that is frankly, hard to believe in times of despair.
Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” To those who are suffering from a broken heart, it is very easy to believe that you are alone in your suffering, even to the point of feeling desertion. Desertion is a valid feeling, because unfortunately at times when things are rough, people, even friends and family seem to draw back for fear of not knowing what to do, or a misguided understanding of respecting personal space. Not so with God. Instead of drawing back in times of personal heartache, he steps near and in his love develops a kinship with the hurting person. It isn’t that God is simply made aware of your situation, rather he is so fully aware that he actually does something.
The latter part of the verse proves just that, where it says God “saves the crushed in spirit.” A crushed spirit is one who is fully aware of their destitute condition. It is a real sense of being lost and experiencing desperation, and if we remove the façade of self-sufficiency, and the pride of life, we see that lostness, and hopelessness is endemic to our culture.
What does God do? He saves.
The God of the Bible moves in close to hurting people, those of whom are seemingly in a pit of despair, and he extends his hand, lifting them out. Once his mercy is displayed in that act of deliverance, he takes the hurting person and binds up their broken heart and heals their wounds (Ps. 147:3).
To those who are brokenhearted, God in Christ is near, and is able to heal every condition of the heart, to those who are seeking him.