When do you most feel the Lord’s presence in your life?
We might think it’s when we’re gathered with fellow Christians in worship on Sunday. Or when we’re surveying the beauty of God’s creation from a mountain top. Or relaxing by the seashore enraptured with the kaleidoscope of colors of a majestic sunset. Or maybe when we look into the precious face of our newborn child or grandchild.
The Psalmist, however, offers a different thought. Yet, when we reflect on its truth, we’ve probably experienced it at some point in our lives.
David’s Psalm speaks of a time in his life when he had experienced a dangerous encounter with his enemies. Possibly the Philistines in Gath when he escaped to the cave of Adullum, fearing for his life.
Reflecting back on his perilous situation, David offers us four instructions when we’re in peril. When fear fills our minds. When the enemy is pursuing us. When our hearts ache.
First, whatever the situation or circumstance we need to praise and magnify God. Secondly, we need to seriously seek the Lord. To turn to Him. To call on Him for help. Thirdly, fear the Lord. It’s often said, when we fear the Lord, we don’t have to be afraid of anything else. Finally, regardless of what we encounter in life to put our trust in the Lord. It’s this point we want to consider.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18).
#1 The Lord is.
Regardless of what evil befalls us or what wicked people do or what tragedy occurs in this broken, fallen world, never lose sight that there is a God. He is alive and well. The horrific acts of depraved people don’t negate His reality.
Furthermore, God is the giver of good gifts (Jas. 1:18). Don’t blame God for the actions of twisted, perverted people with evil intentions. While we see far too often that evil exists, remember that God is still God.
#2 God is near.
This is an oft-repeated refrain of the Psalmist (Ps. 75:1; 119:151; 145:18). “He is near.” It is also a promise throughout Scripture. I think God is never closer to those who believe in Him than in times of trouble.
Have you noticed that even in our carnal, crass, secular society, when a national tragedy occurs, people evoke the name of God? They immediately turn to a Higher Power. They seek solace from the Almighty. They hold prayer vigils. Sing hymns. And go to churches. There seems to be an intuitive sense that the Creator cares. That God sees. Hears. And knows. That He’s near.
Brokenheartedness needs no definition. We know what it is. And how it feels. The ache. The pain. The hurt. And the grief. There is a heaviness that causes us to feel disconsolate. Distressed. And dispirited. The Psalmist called it “crushed in spirit.”
We feel brokenhearted at the death of a loved one. At the abandonment of a spouse. And at the rebellion of a child. Our hearts ache when we experience trouble in the church, division among brethren, and rejection from those we love. It is heartbreaking to hear the news today. Weary people suffering the ravages of war. The pictures of children starving from famine. And people who are in economic peril, helpless and homeless.
Then, we learn of a school shooting. Again. Innocent little children who were brutally, senselessly murdered. And know there are empty beds tonight with grieving parents. Heartbroken. Devasted. Crushed.
What can we do? Where can we go? To whom can we turn?
It is then that we draw near to God, knowing He will draw near to us (Jas. 4:7). That He hears our fervent pleas and ardent prayers. And that in His way, and in His time He will provide comfort and consolation. That He can heal the hurt. And mend the broken heart.
You see, that’s why God came near in sending of His Son to earth. The Father knows the heartache of seeing your son suffer and die. And Jesus feels your pain. He really does. And He provides a path in which we can seek solace and find peace.
We’re further reminded that this world is not our home. One day sin will cease. Evil will be eliminated. Hearts will be forever healed. And the Lord will say to us, “Welcome, home.”
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman