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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 (NLT)

Tragedy brings people together. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and the devastation of conflict or famine awaken a part of us that says, “I’ll help you”. Those motivate to help aren’t limited to social class, race or ethnic groups or religious orientation. In fact, sometimes those who are the most financially insecure are the ones who will give more (percentage-wise) than the wealthy.

All of that is good, but sometimes the biggest hurts people experience are the ones where they suffer alone. A broken heart doesn’t show itself in public. We’ve learned how to hide that behind a false smile, and various activities like drugs, new relationships, political and social action or even religion. Some people spend their entire lives doing ‘things’ to try to cure the pain of a broken heart.

Perhaps one of the hardest things to deal with in relation to a broken heart is that we often suffer alone. Oh, we have friends and neighbors who bring food and comfort during times of mourning and illness. There’s often community and government help to rebuild houses and businesses destroyed by natural disaster. But while that may help soothe the pain, it doesn’t cure the pain.

All the food and all the human comfort and all the financial support in the world won’t heal a broken heart. That’s where Jesus comes in. Well meaning friends and compassionate governments can restore physical property, but only Jesus can come alongside you and completely understand your pain. He may not remove the obstacles in your life, but he can give strength to endure in the battle.

It was Jesus who stood beside the mom who’d lost her daughter. It was Jesus who wept over the death of a dear friend. It was Jesus who stood by the desperate father of a demon-possessed, seizure stricken little boy. It was Jesus who brought hope to the woman at the well, a victim of broken relationships, who’d not only had five husbands, but after five divorces she could no longer take the chance of failing again.  It was Jesus who provided the food for over 5,000 hungry men, women and children. He calmed storms, gave hope to the crippled and restored those victimized by religious intolerance.

What is your struggle today? What pain are you hiding because no one else understands? Jesus Christ promises to come along side you. He understands your pain like no one else. He alone can bring peace in the midst of your storm.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Although I’m smiling on the outside for the world to see, my soul aches today. No one understands how I feel. I’m afraid to share my true feelings with those around me for fear of being misunderstood. Thank you for understanding me. Comfort me in my distress. In your name I pray, Amen.


I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

He spoke in generalities. He didn’t give dates and times. He certainly didn’t rescue us from it. He gave us a promise though…peace during it and victory after it!

Try to imagine the emotion as the disciples listened to Jesus’ teaching on the future. He didn’t mince words. He told us there would be natural catastrophe’s that would boggle our minds. We warned us that relationships would fail. We’d have to endure the pain of being let down by people we thought loved us. We’d be misunderstood, falsely accused, mocked, and even physically harmed. We’d endure the agony of waiting in the doctors office as they worked on a loved on in the next room. We’d pace the floor at home waiting for the phone to ring with the doctor’s test results. We’d stand helplessly by the graveside of a child who ‘died far too early in life’.

When you think about it, sometimes life just sucks! Sure there’s the beauty of the sunrise or sunset. There’s the majesty of mountain grandeur and fall colors. The silence and purity of new fallen snow; the awesome miracle of a new life. But even with all the good of life there’s just so much pain. Sometimes all the tragedy and pain in life makes one wonder if God really does know what’s going on.

Whatever you are going through right now. Whether it is financial disaster, worry, suffering the consequences of your own stupid decisions, the pain of relationships gone bad or watching a loved one be destroyed by the effects of cancer, or whatever else is pulling you down. Remember this. Jesus told us there’d be trouble ahead. While we are in this world we can really expect no less than that. None of this should really be a surprise. We were warned over 2000 years ago. But don’t miss the ‘pearl in the slime’. “I have told you so you will have peace…I have overcome the world.”

That’s it! That’s the nugget we can hold on to, the life preserver in the midst of the ocean, the high ground in the midst of the flood. Jesus knows…He’s overcome the world. Peace of mind will never come to us in life if we base our peace of mind on world events and our own accomplishments. Peace of mind will only come when we base all we have on the overcoming power of Jesus Christ in our lives. He alone is our stronghold.

PRAYER: Father God. I’m in awe at the amount of relational, natural and political pain I see in this world. Somehow it’s a little easier to bear when I remember you warned us about all this. Empower me with your spirit to rest in the peace I can have in you. Protect me from worry and fear. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. Psalm 27:4 (NLT)

Where does God live? Is there any building that can contain him? Does he have a street address? A post office box? A quaint walkway leading up from some street in heaven to the front porch, complete with wicker rocking chair?

Of course not! There is no place that can contain him. The idea of God being some kindly old gentleman sitting on his porch watching the world go by as he sips on a cool glass of lemonade is preposterous! And the notion that we can escape God’s presence is clearly spoken against in Scripture. For no one can find a hiding place where God does not already dwell. 

So what does David mean that he wants to dwell in the house of the Lord all of his days and meditate in his Temple?

Here’s what I think it means. David, the man after God’s own heart, knew that his God was everywhere. He himself writes, ‘Where can I go to escape your presence’. But David never, ever wanted to forget that he was in the presence of almighty God.

During our times of loneliness he wants us to remember that God is our constant friend. During those times we of rebel and sin he wants us to remember that God is a merciful and forgiving Father. During times of illness he wants us to remember that our Heavenly Father holds the soothing oil of healing and is ready and willing to apply it to our lives. During those times when relationships fail and leave us emotionally wounded, he wants us to remember that true comfort comes from his touch.

With our Heavenly Father as our Lord we need not ever feel alone or forgotten or unforgiven. We need never feel that once we have fallen there is no getting up. He never loses sight of us even though sin and worry and guilt can keep us from seeing him.

Because of the grace offered through Jesus Christ our Lord we need never feel that God is not near. Nothing can keep us from enjoying his presence if we but come to him and ask.

PRAYER: Father God. I praise you today for the promise of your constant companionship and friendship along every step of this journey we call life. There are so many times I’ve felt alone or forgotten. So many times people and religion  have let me down, but no more. From this day forward I ask that I may always sense your presence with me. Through the power of your Holy Spirit I ask that you never let me forget that you are with me. In you I rest. In you I find all comfort. For I am never apart from your presence. Amen.


I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

I received a phone call one day from the wife of a friend of mine. ‘Jerry’ had gone into the hospital the day before for tests. He was already considered disabled as a result of an illness that kept him from working. He’d lost his job, was forced to sell all of his ‘toys’ and now his wife was back in the workplace. The doctor’s report wasn’t good. It was determined that the disease had progressed to the point where he wouldn’t be able to take care of the kids while his wife was at work.

After talking with Jerry’s wife for a bit I decided to make the trip down to the hospital. On the way down I was praying for Jerry and his family, wondering what it would be like to have lost everything, thinking of how lucky I was to not be in his position. I also prayed for wisdom to be able to say the right things to lift my dear friend’s spirits during this most trying of times.

The walk down the hallway to his room was excruciating. I looked inside and saw him still connected to all sorts of tubes and wires and my heart sank. “Lord, help me know what to say,” I whispered under my breath as I entered the room.

Everything changed once Jerry I entered that hospital room…everything in my attitude that is. We sat and talked for nearly 45 minutes. During that time Jerry did most of the talking. He talked about how fortunate he was to have Jesus in his life. He talked about how wonderful his wife was. He bragged about how well his kids were doing in school. With my help he showed me a verse he’d read the day before and how it had blessed him. There was little said about the doctors, the tubes, the disease or his future. None of that mattered to Jerry. Jesus would take care of that.

I left the room wondering what had just happened! I was supposed to be the one to encourage, yet I was encouraged by the very person who should have been down. I was spoken to in a real way that day. The passage Jerry had shown me was Psalm 34. Psalm 34 was written by someone else who was in dire circumstances: King David.

When David wrote this Psalm he was running for his life from King Saul. He’d taken refuge in enemy territory and acted insane to save his life. He was humiliated, homeless; he’d been betrayed and felt completely alone. Still, in the midst of his despair he was able to praise his God.

The reason David was able to sing praises in his despair is because he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter where he was, no matter what had happened in his life, no matter what lay ahead of him, God was with him to guide, provide and protect.

What struggles are you facing today? Is your past haunting you? Have you been betrayed or rejected? Do you have health, relational or financial concerns? Remember what Jerry and David remembered. In our times of deepest need we need only look to Jesus for comfort and strength. Trusting in Jesus doesn’t take away the pain of life, but it does give us strength and wisdom to move on.

PRAYER: Holy God. I thank You for the promise that you will be with me in every situation. I praise you because you know better than anyone else my pain, sorrow, frustration and fears. I ask that you would strengthen me to move on in life. Help me to put life in perspective so that I can be an encouragement to others regardless of my own circumstances. Amen.


We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Faith is believing in something even though we can’t see it. Some say they have no faith but we all have faith so some extent.

In the physical life:

  • We believe in wind because we see the leaves moving for no apparent reason. But we know about wind. We can’t see it. We can feel it on our faces and see its results. Therefore, I have faith that wind exists.
  • We believe in ‘chair-ability’. We see a chair. We’ve experienced chairs before. We know by faith from our previous experience that when we sit we will be upheld.
  • We believe in wet. We can’t see wet. But we know when we touch water that wetness happens.

To say we have no faith implies we have had no experiences because faith is often learned by experiences.

The same is true in the spiritual realm. We can’t see God. We have His word to show us His actions through history. Actions that can be verified by historians, scientists and other scholars. We see his actions in creation and when we look into the skies. Living by faith is a decision to accept what we know to be true and applying it to life even when we can’t see it.

I live by faith, not sight when finances are tight and God says He’ll provide. I take the necessary actions to make wise choices. I live to the level of my ability and realize that money and possessions aren’t what life is about.

I live by faith, not sight when the doctor’s report isn’t good. I believe that my God is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. I know that my health is in His hands and that He knows what is best for me. No matter what the doctor says, I know my spiritual health is more important than my physical health. I trust Him to take care of me.

I live by faith, not sight when the relationship I thought would last for my entire life ends. I know that in God’s eyes it’s not so important why it failed or how it failed. What’s really important is that I come to Him for healing, knowing I’m forgiven and that He can still use me no matter what.

I live by faith, not sight when the political scene contradicts God’s law. I know that my sovereign God is ultimately in control of all things. Because He is in control, when the political scene grows worrisome I will stand in the face of adversity and walk all the more closely to Him for protection, guidance and wisdom.

I live by faith, not sight when the justice system fails me. I know that the unfair things of life are here only to make me stronger. I will work within the system for change and accept, as God’s will, when things don’t go my way.

I live by faith, not sight when God says I’m forgiven. It doesn’t matter what others say. It doesn’t matter how others treat me. It doesn’t matter how many times others bring up the mistakes of my past. I know my Redeemer lives. I know that He has forgiven me and there is nothing anyone can do to change my relationship with Him.

PRAYER: Father, it’s so easy to think about faith and so hard to live it. There are so many things in my life that scare me right now. So many doubts; so many feelings of inadequacy; so many questions about what is right and what is wrong. Life is so confusing. I ask that today you would help me to grow in my faith as I experience Your presence in my life. Amen.

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