Psalm 34:18-20,22 "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken... The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned."
Today, I am humbled by the reality that Jesus was a man of sorrows, as the old song says. Jesus knows what it is to suffer, to feel the human emotions of grief, pain, and loss. I'm sure His heart broke so much deeper than we can even understand because Jesus knew what His perfect plan was and will be in a world without sin - and that is a world that is also without death.
While God is quite busy holding the world in its place and knitting together new life, it is so beautiful that He also cares about our suffering. He is "near to the brokenhearted," and He "keeps all his bones," meaning that God will sustain us through our suffering. We can trust Him in the darkest of places. He is with us.
I appreciate that scripture warns us that "the afflictions of the righteous" are many. Not all, or even most, of our suffering is a punishment for our wrongdoing. We live in a broken world where sin creates the most chaotic of circumstances - cancer, pain, headaches, deceit, broken bones, disease, death... they all exist because we are separated from the perfect, holy God living in a world where perfect order has been broken by sin.
Yet, God is sovereign, and God is good. In His divine mercy, He sent Jesus, God in the flesh, to live as a man in the broken order and to break it by living perfectly. Our chaotic order cannot handle perfection. Jesus, the only way, truth, and life, lived the perfect life that we could never complete, and then He took our punishment that we had earned. He died a tragic death that He did not deserve.
Because of Jesus' suffering, His substitution for our debt, and His victorious resurrection from the grave, we can believe the Psalmist as he writes that the "Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned." Regardless of the valleys of the shadows of death that we have to walk through in the fractured order on this side of eternity, we can cling to the cross! We can cling to the promise of our refuge, our redemption, to an eternal home in the presence of God.
If we trust in Jesus, we will one day experience life as God intended in the Garden of Eden - a life without sin, pain and death. But more profoundly, we will experience a life with God, reunited with Him as our Father once again.
So today, as we grieve, we can know that we are not alone. Our intermediary, Jesus Christ, knows what it is to suffer. And He sits with us. He can handle our frustrations and anger at our circumstances. He can handle our deepest hurts. And He will gently lead us to join creation groaning "come, Lord Jesus." Our God is near to the brokenhearted, and He saves the crushed in spirit.