September 13, 2019
Surviving on a Diet of Prayer and Tears
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NLT)
Slumping deep into his chair at a corner table for two, he ate waffle fries alone on a holiday evening.
The sun laid down quietly in the window behind him as snowy hair fell against a face that spilled secrets of sorrow. Vacant eyes and a somber spirit caught my heart.
The people-watcher in me wondered about his story; I was curious why his face wore a leathery shade of pain on a day reserved for joy. Who were his people, and where were they tonight? Most importantly, I wondered, did he know the One who heals broken hearts?
My meal grew cold as appetite deferred to compassion. I might have stared.
They say it takes one to know one, and that night, while the world around us was a blur of festivity, I sat across from the mirror of a man who seemed familiar with a burden or two — just like me.
You see, I had been surviving a season of disquiet and fatigue — and my face wore the evidence as well. I felt a kindred bond with this stranger, for he reflected my pain in a way I’ve yet to forget. And it certainly doesn’t have to be the holidays to feel this way.
Does this scene ring all-too-familiar for you? Does a thick fog of suffering soak your soul and sully your spirit today? Have the vulnerabilities of life left you so heartsick that your face admits to it before you can don a fake smile?
I understand; I’ve been there, too. Some seasons of life can feel like I’ve survived on a diet of prayer and tears. Many a day I’ve longed for calm and comfortable while trudging through chaos and confusion.
The cyclical pattern of life prescribes we take the heavy with the happy, receiving wisdom and grace from each as they’re woven throughout our days. And it’s OK to be human and spent and frail … and #AllTheThings that are common to humanity. Jesus Himself felt these very emotions while wearing the sandals of a flesh-and-blood man.
More than 2,000 years later, we still have a God who doesn’t leave us alone in our pain. A God who isn’t satisfied to watch our sadness from afar, but instead serves as our faithful Field Medic — bandaging bruised dreams, reviving faint hopes, mending crushed spirits — as we soldier on in the messy stuff of life.
King David, a man who knew his share of sorrow, said, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). He also shares that, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18, NIV). We need not brave our burdens alone, for the rugged edges of pain instigate an intimacy with our Savior that polished peaks can’t produce.
Today, may you feel the warmth of His breath and the tenderness of His touch as He kneels beside you, reminding you: You’re not alone; I’m right here with you. It’s going to be OK — there is no wound I can’t cleanse, no brokenness I can’t heal.
Dear Lord, thank You for the comfort of Your presence through the trials of this life. Please grant me strength to find Your hope and joy amidst the pain today. I know You’ll heal all my broken places with Your tender-loving balm. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (ESV)
Isaiah 40:29, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (NIV)
1 Chronicles 16:11, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What hurts are you struggling to brave alone today?
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© 2019 by Brenda Bradford Ottinger. All rights reserved.