Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Close to the Broken

I'm good at accidentally smashing things. I recently knocked my coffee pot carafe into the faucet and caused a shower of glass to rain down all over my kitchen counter and sink. My gut reaction to a broken dish is to jump back from it lest a piece of glass finds a way to embed itself in my finger. I'm especially fanatical about it if my kids are nearby. "Nobody move!" I hear myself shouting. "Back up, back up, back up." It's good to be careful around broken things. Caution keeps us from doing more damage or bringing on more hurt. We humans are so fragile. We bleed easily.

We sometimes do this with people though, don't we? We see pain and suffering and our gut reaction is to back up. Don't go too close. That pain might be contagious somehow. I might hurt myself trying to help with that burden. Or I might make it worse because I have no idea what I'm doing.

Today I'm thankful that God doesn't react to our pain that way. This afternoon I read Psalm 34:18 which says, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." God doesn't need to jump away from our suffering to avoid inflicting pain on himself. He's already done that on the cross. God steps in to our sadness; our brokenness. Sometimes I think the more broken we are the closer we can be to God.

I know I'm not the only one for whom 2017 is off to a rough start. I'm by no means alone in my suffering. There are so many of you who are experiencing some sort of upheaval, whether big or small. Know this: God draws near to our brokenness. He leans in to our pain. He is close to us when we are crushed. God lifts us up and helps us stand, shakily at first but eventually with firmly planted feet. I hope that in your pain you will lift your eyes to the heavens and let God take hold of you. Praise God that He gives us hope for tomorrow.



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