The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18
I woke in the middle of the night again, panicked. There are truly no words to describe the terror that claimed my heart while I slept. I don’t often fall to these night terrors anymore, so when they come, they are unexpected. Having completed counseling, I now have the tools to deal with the past when it attacks. Even so, the first thing my mind screams for is liquid peace coursing through my veins. That is the hard part. Some mistakes we make threaten to haunt us the rest of our lives – for me, shooting poison into my veins is one of them. Thankfully, God is my hope. He enables me to overcome the lies with His Word of Truth, planted in my heart through decades of walking with Him.
When hearts break and tears fall, when the drugs call, this little lie tries to slither its way into the darkness: God does not see my pain. Or worse still, He sees but does not care. In so many moments over the last few years, this little lie has tried to wrap itself around my heart, but by God’s grace and through His Truth, the lie did not win.
Choosing to believe truth when the emotions are high and the lies attack is impossible on my own strength. So, daily, hour by hour, moment by moment, I sit at the feet of Jesus, praying He will enable me to cling to Him, His Words, His Truth – the only real truth. I crack open the Bible and am awash in His love. His promise is that when my world falls apart and my heart leaks tears, He is near. He is sitting with me. When the spirit is crushed and without hope, He is an ever present help. When the need for liquid poison calls my name again, Jesus is with me. He is stronger than the need for drugs. He promises not only His presence, but His healing, freedom, and love (see Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:19-21). Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted and heal their wounds. Jesus came to proclaim liberty to the captives. Jesus. He is the only answer my heart needs. He is the only answer any heart needs.
And this morning as I wrestle with the uncertainty of our future and the brokenness of my past, I sit with this same Jesus, crying out. Confident of this, that He will not leave me or my family alone. His Word promises, “…he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So, we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.'” (Hebrews 13:5b-6) What a beautiful promise. There is nothing I have to fear because the Lord is my helper, not just on the days when I get everything right and have it all together, but always. Thankfully, His promise is that He will never leave me nor forsake me. The promise and assurance of His presence gives me courage and alleviates my fears.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 ESV) He is near us, even as we cry out to Him. He is close to us, even when we don’t feel Him. His Word is true and is the balm our souls need. My Jesus sees the struggle, hears the cries of my heart and whispers, “Peace, be still.” And the storm inside of me falls quiet at His command.
For you this morning: Perhaps you are struggling with a broken heart due to the loss of a child or spouse. Maybe, like me, you struggle with addiction. (Addiction comes in many forms – addiction to food, drugs, alcohol, approval, adrenaline.) Or maybe, you are just overwhelmed with life or are having panic attacks, struggling with anxiety.
Right now, whatever your struggle, God is with you. He has not left you. I know it may not feel like it, but the truth does not depend on our feelings. It depends on the character of a faithful God. He is faithful and He is near, not because you feel it or have it all together. Not because you gave generously at church or served faithfully in a Sunday school class. Not because you got the house cleaned and the laundry done. Not because you are good enough. God is with you because He has promised to be with you. Your impatience with your toddler won’t cause Him to leave. Your irritation with your husband, that fight you picked, the car accident that was your fault, that mistake you made at work, that last drink of alcohol you took, those pills you popped, that little lie you told…not one of those things will drive Him away. In Christ, He is with you because He has promised to be with you.
For you: Are you struggling with believing God in some area of your life? Do you have wounds that need healed? Whatever your pain is, God is with you. He loves you. Maybe try one of the following:
Read through Isaiah 61:1-3. Pray it out loud. Make a list of who God is and what He promises in these verses. Confess to Him where you don’t see him involved in your life and ask him to show you His presence.
Turn on the praise music, sing at the top of your lungs and dance around the kitchen. If you have children, invite them to join in. I find it most helpful to use a wooden spoon as a microphone (especially if the kids are present, because their laughter rings joy).
Get out into the great outdoors. Take a walk at the park, play in a mud puddle, swing on a swing.
If you have a gratitude journal, maybe you could read back through it to see what God has already accomplished. If you don’t have one, why not start one? It’s simple. Just list a few things you can thank God for each day.
Call a friend you know is struggling and share her burden. Kind of strange, but bearing some else’s burden often helps us bear our own.
Father God, you who made the heavens and the earth, thank You that Your Word is true even when we don’t feel like it is, even when we don’t feel like You are near. Thank You that You are the hope of our hearts and the healing our souls need. I pray today, Father, that You who are present with each of us every moment of the day will make Your presence tangibly evident to our hearts.