Missionary statesman and theologian E. Stanley Jones told of browsing in a bookstore and seeing a set of books on a table with a sign reading: SECOND HAND THEOLOGY FOR SALE. Jones said that upon seeing that sign he vowed never...
The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
At the end of his novel A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway concludes: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.” He confronts us with the great mystery of how brokenness makes some people better, while others, bitter. The same shattering blow renders some victors, and others, victims.
Surely a key to growing through my brokenness is to know that God is near to the broken-hearted. Rather than being put off by my brokenness, or failure to get my life together, God is actually drawn to me in that moment. When I have something broken I want to fix it or trade it in for a new one. But I can know that God seeks me out in my brokenness. He rushes to me as a physician rushes to the lost and the injured (Matthew 9:10-13). God never turns me away as too sick or too broken. He is “near” to me and He “saves”!
Quaker educator Parker Palmer tells a Hasidic tale in which a disciple asks his rebbe (i.e. rabbi): “Why does the Torah tell us to ‘place the holy Word UPON your heart’? Why does it not tell us to place the holy Word IN our hearts?” The Rebbe explained: “It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy Word IN our hearts. So we place them UPON our hearts. And there the Word stays until, one day, the heartbreaks and the words fall IN.”
After suffering the brokenness that is divorce, I sat in the back row of a Sunday service longing for, praying for some healing. On the church bulletin, I saw today’s scripture text. At that moment God’s words fell IN my heart. I knew the LORD is near to the broken-hearted and felt Him near to me!
PLANT A THOUGHT… Repeat, Tell, Write, Create
A Fellow Traveler,