Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
The Lord is near the brokenhearted, but does He unbreak their hearts? This is not a question asked from doubt or anger or fear or heresy. It is asked from curiosity and the knowledge that there are a great number of broken hearted believers.
Does this verse mean that they have little faith? Does it mean that a walk with God takes all our inner pain away? It cannot mean that when a loved one dies we do not have a broken heart. Paul knew broken hearetedness. David knew it big time.
Many think the meaning of this verse, and others hope it means, that God takes away the brokenness of our hearts. Well, He takes away the meaninglessness of the broken heart. He takes away the hopelessness of loss when the heart gets broken. He takes away the isolation that comes through loss. But does He remove the broken heart? He didn’t remove Jesus’.
The person who maintains that their heart is not broken when a spouse, parent, sibling, child, friend dies, or when some other tragedy strikes, is not a well person and is probably putting on a front to make the presence of God something that it is not and was never meant to be.
If I do not have a broken heart over some of my suffering; if I do not have a broken heart over the estate of the lost, the living conditions of the poor, the abuse and cruelty and self righteousness and godlessness in the world then I am less than a real human being. Stoicism is for stoics, but it is no Christian aspiration.
The problem with many Christians is not too much emotion. It is misplaced passions. The passionate broken hearted rejoice even when they are broken hearted because they know that God can bring good out of it and He wasn’t sleeping when the thing occurred. They can rejoice because they are human and God has promised to end the sorrow someday, but not yet. If our hearts are never broken then we are living in denial of the fall and all its consequences. God is with the broken hearted, but He does not unbreak the heart. He wouldn’t be that heartless and unloving to His children.
We do not need to try to pretend that our hearts are not ever broken. We need to be in the world to live in the hope that God provides and seek to alleviate the broken hearts that abound all around us – because we know what it’s like to endure such hearts ourselves.