These words were written by Tom Norvell, a Baptist minister.
These are comforting words from a man who understood difficult times:
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:17-18, NIV)
The Contemporary English Version says it like this:
"When his people pray for help, he listens and rescues them from their troubles. The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope."
As I write these words I wonder how many people who read them will say, "That's me. I'm the brokenhearted...at least I'm one of them." Or, "That's me. I'm discouraged and I have given up hope...or I am about to. Life has just been too hard. I'm not sure I can go on."
You may be the husband who has worked hard all your adult life to provide for your family and give them the necessities of life, and then some. When you thought you were just beginning to see a little relief, your wife walks out the door vowing never to come back.
You may be a mom or a dad who has done everything within your power to guide your child in the right direction. When it seemed that you had failed, you then devoted all your energy to find the right resources to help them turn their life around. Just when you thought you were making good progress this child you love made one more poor choice that has changed their life, and yours forever. Now, you pray asking God to keep them safe.
You may be the woman who has been diagnosed with cancer. You're in shock. Your family is in shock. After doing all the tests, battling through all the treatments, the doctors say, "We've done all we can do."
You may be the teacher who has given your life to your students. You realize that most will never get it, most will never thank you, and you accept that because you are there to make a difference, not receive praise. But there was that one student who made it all worthwhile. The one who showed such promise! The one you would have nominated as "Most likely to win a Nobel Prize." Then, came the call that she had been killed in a car accident.
You may be the soldier who left your wife, your children, and all that was dear and valuable to you to serve your country for a cause you believed in. But when you came home everything had changed. Or, you had changed. Something had changed. You have images that you cannot get rid of.
You may be the child who has endured years of hearing your parents argue and fight and saying horrible things to one anther. You prayed things would get better. You longed for a happy family. Then, you hear those words you hoped and prayed you'd never hear: "We're getting a divorce."
You may be the young adult who has finally gotten out on your own, you finished your degree, you landed a great job, and you feel really good about where you are. But, no matter how hard you try, and no matter how well you perform, no matter what you do, it doesn't quite measure up. It's just never good enough. There's always one more thing you could have done or one more thing that you should have done that would have been better.
You may be the follower of Jesus. You've given Him your whole life. You died to self and surrendered your will to His. You feel good about where You are with the Lord. For the first time in your life you know real joy and peace. Yet, you can't seem to find that same peace with your spiritual community. You are feeling more and more disenchanted, disconnected and disheartened. You cannot figure out what's wrong.
If you identify with any of these people, please know that the words of David are words from God to you. These promises are for you as much as they were for David:
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Though your heart may be broken and your spirit may be crushed, please don't give up. Hold on to these promises. Hold on to the One who made these promises to David, and still makes these promises to you and to me.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
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