When Deep Sorrow Comes

This is a newsletter article from some years ago I wanted to share.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

I am feeling this way on a gloomy afternoon. Unexpected, sad news comes my way. My spirit feels crushed, my heart broken, aching. I know you know the feeling. You have been there many times, maybe even as you read this! Life, as wonderful a gift as it is, can sorrow us deeply. Such is the risk of loving and being loved.

In these moments there is nothing else to rest in but this, first that the LORD is near, close, in proximity, with me in my sorrow, and second, that God saves me, sustains me, delivers me, somehow keeps a crushed spirit alive. So when deep sorrow comes, there is a healing balm, and that is the presence and healing activity of God.

I’m remembering as a boy when I witnessed the death of a beloved pet, at the hands of a passing car. Frank Odell, the tallest man in the neighborhood, came and sat down with me, leaning against the garage door, and for a long, long time, just sat there in silence with me. After a while, he got up without saying anything, to leave I thought, but came back with a slurpee from 7-11. He just sat there with me, so that I could grieve with someone else. He acted on behalf of God there. He set his life aside to come and dwell with me in my sorrow. He put himself near to me, without trying to dwell in platitudes. I don’t remember if or what the words we shared were, but I’ll never forget his presence.

The important lesson is God’s repeated pattern of coming close when things are most difficult, when life seems to fall in on us. The writer of Hebrews quotes God, who says “I will never leave you or forsake you.”(13:5). Last week we sang this unique hymn in which it is God who is singing:

Go, my children, with my blessing, never alone.
Waking, sleeping, I am with you, you are my own.
In my love’s baptismal river, I have made you mine forever.
Go, my children, with my blessing, you are my own. (Hymnal, 676)

Sometimes God’s presence and promises are all we have. And it’s enough!
And we cling to the one who will never let us go. Thanks be to God.

– Pastor Pete

One thought on “When Deep Sorrow Comes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s