“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
My relationship with my father always seemed to be a work in progress, but I was still excited to see him.
Whenever my little family of four took a road trip to my home state, spending time with my father was always on the itinerary. With each visit, I had high hopes that we would grow closer, know one another better, and build the father-daughter relationship I longed for.
On one visit in the heat of summer, I wore my natural hair in an Afro puff. This was my summer go-to style: a quick solution for my tightly coiled strands in the Texas humidity. I thought I was looking good until my father, oblivious to the impact of his words, said, “When are you going to get your hair done?”
I had so many internal responses swirling around in my brain. What? Why is my hair important? I’ve traveled more than 800 miles to spend time with you, and you’re concerned about my hair!
It wasn’t just the words he said but the words I had never heard him say that magnified the moment. I was a 30-something-year-old woman, and there were things he had never said to me:
“You are beautiful.”
“You are special.”
“You are loved.”
That day, his words were a reminder of the chasm that existed between us. He did not understand me, nor did I understand him. We were like strangers meeting for the first time. His words exasperated the reality that I had father wounds, and my heart was broken all over again.
What do we do when our hearts are damaged in the same place, by the same person, multiple times? How are we supposed to heal? Whereas curling up in the fetal position and licking our wounds may sound like a good idea, I’m grateful God has provided encouragement we can glean from the pages of Scripture.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
These were David’s words at a time when he was on the run from King Saul. After David defeated Goliath, he was given a high rank in the army. Eventually, Saul became jealous of David’s military success and attempted to kill him on numerous occasions.
I imagine this experience was very painful for David. He may have questioned why this was happening to him. He may have wondered what he did to deserve the betrayal of Saul, his king — someone David held in high regard.
When David penned the words of Psalm 34, he was deeply acquainted with overwhelming sorrow. He understood what it meant to have his heart broken into pieces and his spirit crushed.
David’s truthful, encouraging psalm is applicable to every person who has ever been enveloped by the weight of a broken heart. God is near — He is not far off, aloof or somewhere in the distance, unconcerned with our pain. When we feel alone and isolated, God’s presence is close to us.
Not only is God near, but He also saves us. This salvation is not limited to our soul's iniquities but also encompasses our heart's prolonged pain. God saves every place where our spirits are seemingly crushed beyond repair.
God’s salvation includes our minds, wills and emotions. He saves every part of us. When our hearts are broken and our spirits are crushed, God is our deliverer. This has been true for me, and it is also true for you.
I never told my dad how his words impacted me on that summer day. If he knew, he would be devastated because that was not his intention. I simply nursed my wounds across three states and clung tightly to the broken pieces of my heart. Over time, God met me in my painful place, just like He met David. He put the broken pieces of my heart back together.
Friend, the most beautiful part is that the Lord’s nearness and salvation are ongoing. Every time our heart is broken or our spirit is crushed, we can bring all our broken pieces to Him, knowing He is near and able to save.
Dear God, thank You for the promises found in Your Word. Remind me that You are near when my heart is broken. Help me trust that You can save me when I am crushed in spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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The wounds of a father deeply impact a woman’s heart. If you have experienced hurt and rejection from your earthly father, you can still know God’s all-sufficient grace and healing. To begin your healing journey, purchase Kia Stephens’ new book, which releases TODAY: Overcoming Father Wounds: Exchanging Your Pain for God’s Perfect Love!
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (NIV)
How have you experienced God’s comfort in the midst of wounds inflicted by those you love? How does this encourage you? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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