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Album Post #4 - Near the Brokenhearted

Near the Brokenhearted - Jacob Daniel

“The Lord is near the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

It was hard to believe that we were once again at this point. We had ridden this roller coaster before: the one that takes you from fear to joy, back to fear again so quickly. We were waiting on a phone call. A call that could change our lives and affect the plans of our entire family. A phone call that no one wants, but that you desperately want to come when you are waiting for it. My dad had cancer again, for the third time and we were waiting to find out if it had spread. He had just had another surgery. We were confident that they got it all this time, but there is still that chance. It could still be everywhere. I remember we went golfing that day, just my dad and I. I’m sure we both had thoughts in our head asking, “could this be the last time we played together? How many more opportunities will we get to do this?”

While we were waiting for the call, I remember that we had lots of family over, but I wished we were all alone. I didn’t want anyone to be around if we got bad news. I didn’t want others to see our reactions when he got the call. Then finally, the phone rang. He answered it, took a deep breath and released a huge weight on his shoulders. It was good news! He was clear, for the time being. We breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God because we realized what we had been given: more time. My dad’s battle was not over, but at least he knew he could still keep fighting. At least we knew there was still hope that would rise another day.

Our family’s story is not unique. This is not something that has only happened to us. That phone call comes to families often, except more times than not, it’s the devastating news that they get. Cancer and other terminal illnesses cripple the hopes of families every single day. And many times families and loved ones are left feeling hopeless, lost, and with a broken-heart seeking a cure. Where are we to look to in these desperate times? Where can we find hope when literally everything around us looks hopeless?

I felt the exact same way shortly after we got the phone call. We were excited at the current news of course, but we were still unsure of the future. One thing we knew for sure was that we needed to pray. We knew we couldn’t handle this on our own so we needed to lift it to the one who would carry the load for us. A couple of weeks later I was down in Omaha with my wife and daughter on a little family vacation. The funny thing is, I was supposed to be in Nashville for a music conference, but my flight got cancelled. And since God works in more obvious ways than we sometimes realize, I should have known something great would come from it. It was nice to get away and give our minds a break from the doubt and fears, but as we headed home, I found myself wandering in that direction again. I thought, “Lord, I know you are there, but help us know that you are NEAR. Help us feel your presence and trust that you are the one in control of this situation. Help us to know that whatever happens is exactly what is supposed to happen. Help us to see your grace even when the light appears to be the darkest.” And sure enough, with the timing that couldn’t be replicated in a movie, God reminded me exactly where He always is.

A few minutes later, I passed by a billboard on the side of interstate 29. The billboard had a verse on it, and of course, it was just what my wandering heart needed to hear. It was Psalm 34:18,

“The Lord is near the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

He is near us. He always has been and he always will be. And just because we fear that He has left us, doesn’t mean that He has moved an inch. When we are joyful, He is near. When we are tired, He is near. When we doubt Him, He is near. And when we are broken, lost in the worries of the circumstances of our life and the lives of our loved ones, He is near. God is near the brokenhearted today. He saves those who are crushed and He wraps them up in His arms. Be held by Him today in the craziness that we call life. Because even though we don’t know what tomorrow holds for my dad or for our family, we definitely know that our amazing God, the one that holds the stars, is in control of it all.

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