The Lord is close to the
Do you remember your first school age heartbreak? Mine happened in 2nd grade. I secretly had a crush on the boy next door. I thought he was the coolest boy EVER ! His family were missionaries in Brazil and home for a yearlong furlough. I was over the moon the day he asked me to go to a baseball game with him and his dad. We lived about five blocks from a minor league baseball stadium, so the plan was to meet him at his house and we would walk there together.
The day finally came, I knocked on the front door and was met by his mom who said they already left for the game. I was upset but determined to go to the game with him. I went home and told my dad what happened and that I wanted to go up to the stadium and find them. So he gave me money for the ticket and I headed out.
I bought my ticket, walked through the big iron gates and into the stadium to look for him. The place was huge and it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. After about 30 minutes tears began fill my eyes. Feeling alone and rejected, I decided to go home.
As I walked out of the stands, I was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw my Dad waiting on the other side of the gate. Unbeknownst to me, he had followed me to the game just in case I couldn’t find them because he knew his little girl would be brokenhearted. He hugged me tight and we walked home hand in hand as I cried. Any time my Dad saw the boy outside he would call him “Creepy Old John”. Occasionally over the next 30 years we would recall that memory and my Dad still called him “Creepy Old John”.
Today, I remember this story with a mended heart. I do not remember the hurt and rejection I felt. Instead I remember how my Dad showed me so much love that day when he met me exactly where and when I needed him the most. However, the love of my Dad pales in comparison to the way the Lord loves and cares for His children.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV). This verse tells us the truth, there are things in life that will crush our spirits. But it also gives two beautiful promises:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted”
“He saves those who are crushed in spirit”
He meets us exactly where we are, and He chooses the way he meets us because He knows everything about us (Psalms 139:1). Often times it is through His Word and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes He sends someone to come alongside us to minister to us. Other times he uses all three to show us He is right there in our pain.
My favorite example of this is how Jesus ministered to Martha and Mary at their brother Lazarus’ tomb in John 11. These sisters were in the middle of a devastating tragedy. Their brother was deathly ill, they asked Jesus to come heal him (they even reminded Jesus He loved Lazarus). They knew he could do this, He healed others many times, those who were most overlooked, outcasts and even the hated. Blind and crippled beggars, people with leprosy (in those days people with this disease were thought to be cursed by God). A Roman centurion’s servant (this man represented the hated oppressors of the Jews).
But Jesus waited three days to come to them, and by that time Lazarus was dead. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Mary and Martha were told Jesus was there. Martha ran out to meet Jesus and said “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died”. She goes on to say “I know you can ask God for anything and he will listen to you.” It is as if Martha is saying “Jesus I have hope you can still do something”. Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again”, and she says “Yes I know we will rise again on the last day.” Martha is affirming her belief in the resurrection taught in the Old Testament and by Jesus (see Isaiah 26:19, Psalms 71:20, John 5:21). Jesus then goes on to remind her of the Gospel. He met Martha with exactly what she needed, the beautiful promise of everlasting life to all who put their faith in Him.
Mary also heard that Jesus had arrived, but she stayed back at the house weeping. Martha went home to get her. Mary ran out to Jesus and said exactly the same thing Martha had said, “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.” This time Jesus saw her grief and cried with her, he met Mary with exactly what she needed, to know He cared and saw her pain.
Do you have a broken heart that needs to be mended like Mary and Martha? The enemy wants you to believe the Lord doesn’t care or doesn’t see your pain. But don’t believe the lie. Remember the promises of God, let the truth of His Word fill your heart. Has your broken heart been mended? Go and comfort those who need the same comfort you received.
Weekly Memory Verse
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.