Counseling Through Psalm 34:18

Psalm 34:18        The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Author and biblical counselor Dr. Robert Kellemen wrote, “We live in a fallen world and it often falls on us. When it does, when the weight of the world crushes us, squeezes the life out of us, we need hope.”[1] Each of us have countless experiences of this fallen world falling on us. Some may be as small as an ill-timed flat tire, a stomach bug ruining a holiday weekend or a constantly critical co-worker.  Other circumstances are much heavier and leave us crushed and broken, unsure of how to go on. As Dr. Kellemen wrote, we are in need of hope.

This verse offers two reasons to take hope in time of trial and tragedy. First, we are promised that Our Heavenly Father “is near to the brokenhearted.” When our fallen world falls on us, it often leaves us feeling very alone.  In times of intense hurt and pain, it is easy to feel like no one else sees, knows or understands what you are facing and how you are hurting.  Even the most supportive of family and friends cannot be there with you 24/7/365.  The pain is then compounded by the sense of aloneness that comes with it.  God speaks in those moments that He is near the brokenhearted. He sees, He knows, He cares, He does not forget and He is near.  What comfort and hope knowing that our Heavenly Father is near to us in our brokenness.  He does not leave us alone, He is not unaware or carefree about our hurt. While other people may not draw near, or may not understand, or may not even know about our broken hearts, God is unique, set apart compassionate in His loving care. He is near and He tells us so that we can find hope in Him.

Second, this verse promises that God “saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God may save us by comforting us in all our troubles (2 Corinthians 1:4), by delivering us from the peril we face (2 Corinthians 1:10), by inwardly renewing us and reminding us of eternity to come (2 Corinthians 4:16), or by making His sufficient grace and power perfect in us as we  continue in the trial (2 Corinthians 12:9). Regardless of how God specifically acts to save us, we are assured that even in great affliction, his mercies to us are new every morning and his faithfulness is great (Lamentations 3:19-23).  Ultimately, we know that God will save His people in the new heaven and new earth when “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

When this fallen world falls on us, we have hope that God is near and He saves. He truly is the God of all comfort.

[1] Kellemen, Robert W. God’s Healing for Life’s Losses, 4. Winona Lake, Ind.:BMH Books, 2010. We read through this book at VOH as part of our morning class curriculum and would recommend it as a biblically based book on handling loss and walking through grief.

Jennifer Cantu
Jennifer Cantu works as a counselor and Shift Supervisor at Vision of Hope. She received her biblical counseling certification from ACBC in 2014. In addition to working at VOH, Jennifer counsels women through Faith Church’s counseling ministry. She is very thankful for ministry opportunities to help, teach and encourage women with God's Word.