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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Can you imagine the excitement David must have felt when he was called down from the mountain to meet with the great prophet Samuel? Add to that the stunning announcement that someday, he, David, a mere shepherd boy would be King of Israel? Amazing!

He couldn’t have been more than 16 or 17 at the time. Life was ahead of him and even though he must have loved the shepherding and farming life his father instilled in him, the intrigue of the city and fame and fortune had to have had the same allure then as it does now. I imagine David walked just a little taller among the sheep when he returned to his post in the fields.

Then add in the whole incident with that giant, Goliath. There are lots of reasons stated out there for why David slew Goliath; the precision of his shot, the trust in God, Goliath not taking him (or his God) seriously. But I think there was probably a good measure of adrenaline behind that stone that day. After all, he was David, the future King!

But then life came crashing down for David. Psalm 34 was written when he ‘escaped’ from his own homeland to enemy territory. The very Philistines that produced Goliath; the very nation he hated so much; the one place in the world he would never want to find himself, became his sanctuary.

The once proud, confident David became an actor, pretending to be a lunatic in enemy territory so he’d be protected from Saul, and pitied by the Philistines. I can’t help but imagine the despondency, the fear, the disappointment in his heart.

Have you been there? Have you found yourself in a place you never thought you’d be in? Dealing with guilt for an affair you never thought you’d put yourself in? Struggling with credit card debt and other financial woes that you vowed you’d never get your family into…again? Struggling with the pain of broken relationships or failing health?

David likens it to a crushed spirit. The original languages give the word picture of being smashed by a hammer. Obliterated. Destroyed. Nothing left that resembles your heart. No use picking up the pieces. They are to shattered, to broken, to be of any value.

But listen to David’s words. God comes close to those who are broken. As an omnipresent God, he is always near of course. But during those times of grief; during those times when life is beyond disappointing, it’s dreadfully painful, your Heavenly Father, the God of the universe, bends low to hear your cry; to feel your pain; to comfort you.

Life doesn’t always take us where we thought we’d be, but it never takes us away from a God who is passionately in love with you.

PRAYER: Father God, I pray today for those who are hurting; for those who’s hearts have been smashed by the hammer of life. May they sense your presence and feel your comforting love. Amen.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalm 37:25

Age and experience are life’s best teachers. All the books we read and the classes we take give us great foundational ‘knowledge’ but wisdom comes from experience. David saw his share of heartache and hardship during his life. He experienced the pain of losing family and friends. He lived the shame and embarrassment of being ‘caught in sin’. He had his share of victories and endured his share of defeats.

Yet in all his pain and frustration, during all those times when others failed him, or he failed others and God, David knew that he could trust God. Why worry when you are alone on the hillside, tending sheep and the bear and wolf attack. God is there. Why worry when the enemy giant mocks your God threatens your nation? God will fight for you. Why dwell on past mistakes, regardless of how embarrassing? God forgives and heals.

I wonder if, when David wrote this verse, he had a bit of an epiphany, a revelation from God. I can see him now, sitting up on his palace roof looking out over the city. He sees the homes of the wealthy. He sees the homes of the destitute. Over there is beggars lane where the blind and the crippled wait for alms.

Then, it hits him. He looks towards heaven and in an attitude of awe and worship he says, “You know Father, now that I think about it, those who follow you are never forgotten. You remember those who struggle with life physically, emotionally and spiritually. You remember those who have found out the secret to successful living. Why worry?

David’s revelation is one we can all ponder as we travel this journey of life. I like to think of Psalm 37 as the ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ Psalm. As we go through life it can be frustrating when we see people who reject God and seem to prosper while those of us who try to follow him struggle with health, relationships, finances and doubt.

David’s message is the same to us today. God loves you. He has given everything of value to you. He didn’t ask you to clean up your act. He doesn’t require a down payment before he’ll forgive you. He knows the mistakes you made in secret. He knows the doubt and rebellion you will have in the future. Still, His promise of love and forgiveness is true.

We may not have all the things we want in life. But if we commit to growing in relationship to him, He will provide for us. Don’t worry about tomorrow. The one who made tomorrow loves you dearly and has everything taken care of. Ours is not to worry, ours is to trust His promise to provide in His way, not ours.

PRAYER:  Father God, I thank you for your promise to provide for me. I confess to you that I struggle with worry and doubt. I make life harder for me with some of the decisions I’ve made and that keeps me from resting in you. Forgive me for the poor choices I make. Empower me with your Spirit to trust you completely. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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