Help is Near

Psalm 34: 18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I was very surprised today to realize I had not sent this verse. I would have sworn I had. There is never a time when this verse is not appropriate because we all have need of Jesus’ saving grace daily, we have all suffered broken hearts and unfortunately, most of us have experienced at least one time in our lives when we have been crushed in our spirits. What I hear the most in this right now, though, is the high level of stress and anxiety people are enduring right now. People who were fortunate enough to retain their jobs are now doing the work of three people and they were probably over-taxed before the crisis. Health care workers, dear God, I cannot even imagine their stress load. Then there are the tons of people who are emotionally over stay home orders. They probably don’t even realize how stressed they are.

So here’s the deal, Jesus said he is the answer. No really! I don’t mean that in an esoteric way. The only value is if Jesus is the real and present answer. The reality is that he has promised to save us from everyday work and strain as much as the extreme stress situations. Salvation, you understand, is an everyday thing, and thank God for that. We often limit the idea of salvation to a saved from hell perspective but that is only one piece of Jesus’ victory. He whipped the devil so that we have everyday grace.

I am reminded of this verse, “I’ve told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world,” (John 16: 33 GW). He was saying to us that because he has overcome the world, we too can experience that victory. His victory is ours. Crushed in spirit? Look up! The power and peace of Jesus is at hand to save you from the stress, worry and anxiety. His love and tenderness is on hand to assuage the pain and hardship. You go through nothing on your own. The secret is for us to learn to lean more heavily on his peace. There are some who only know God’s peace intellectually. “Yeah,” they say, “I know about the peace of Jesus.” That is so not what I am writing to you about. I want you to know the peace of Jesus in an experiential way where you would remove the word “about” from the previous sentence. Instead you might say, “Yes, and thank you Lord. I live in the tender mercies of the Lord. I relax in his peace and feel my heart comforted by his love and care.” The higher the stress load, the more peace and grace the Father has for you and the more you should bathe in it.

This is why the Lord is near, to care for you as a shepherd cares for the sheep. Can you imagine a shepherd who sits against a tree and calls out to the sheep, “I care for you,” but doesn’t stir when the wolf comes, nor never leads them to water or pasture? Don’t care about me, care for me. It is different and that is the Jesus difference. Now, let us make sure that we aren’t standing out in the pasture saying, “I know my shepherd cares about me,” but don’t follow him to water or run to him when the predator comes. Our faith and need connect in Jesus. Be filled with his lovingkindness and peace.

Have you ever seen the “Ask Ivey” section of our website? Click here and leave a question.