“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17
Have you ever found yourself amidst circumstances that truly broke your heart? I’m not talking about a day you feel a little “down.” What I am referring to, is a season where you ache so severely, you feel as if you might not make it through.
Though I’ve walked several of those miles throughout my journey, I remember one season in particular in which I was so grieved, my heart literally felt broken. In fact, I remember thinking at the time, I wonder if anyone has ever died from a broken heart? The emotional pain felt like it may overcome me.
This is where the Psalmist finds himself in chapter 34. Of particular interest is the Hebrew words for brokenhearted. As you might imagine, it’s two words.
The first is leb which is defined as, not your heart in a literal sense, but your heart in a figurative sense. This is depicted best as “the seat of our emotions.” We derive English phrases from this term such as “heart to heart talk” or “I love you from the bottom of my heart” or “his heart was in the right place.” The Psalmist uses this phrase often in his book. For example, “The heart is deceptively wicked, who could know it?” He is not referring to a literal heart (heart transplant), he is referring to the entity that lies deep within our core, from which our feelings and behaviors stem.
The second word here represents the brokenness. Sabar literally means smash, crush, destroy, or to break into pieces. Matter of fact, I Kings 13:26 uses the word in a gruesome context where a lion is mauling a man, killing him. The word for mauling in the verse is our same word here. What a vivid word picture to help us comprehend the intensity of this word. This isn’t just “I had a bad day,” but rather “my heart is being torn apart in tiny pieces and it feels like it’s killing me. I feel crushed and destroyed. I can’t stand another minute.”
and beyond painful.
If you haven’t experienced these emotions, you haven’t been truly heart broken. I pray your season never comes. Chances are, it will. The consequences of sin, whether mine or someone else’s, produces broken hearts.
It’s not fair.
It’s life on this earth.
If you’ve reaped the effects of grief, betrayal, loss of a meaningful friendship, rejection, disease, addiction, or divorce, you’ve experienced a sample of death that produced a broken heart. God did not physiologically compose us to deal with this. It’s a result of humanity, which is why our bodies are not made to naturally undergo emotional pain.
Good news: The Lord is saving you.
David paints a particularly gruesome picture, setting up a stark contrast because He wants you to know God put a plan B in place.
The same Hebrew word for save “yasa,” is the same Greek word used for Hosanna in the New Testament. When the crowds shouted “Hosanna” as Jesus rode in on a donkey, they were describing a Messiah who would provide an everlasting salvation.
What an awesome reality.
Old Testament: God comes in to save the day.
New Testament: Jesus, our Savior, lives inside us and is saving the day.
What an amazing truth!
Jesus I pray for those today who are suffering from a broken heart. Pray You would flow out of your believers, demonstrating Your agape love through practical support, encouraging words, a kind smile, and a sweet conversation. We know you are saving us even now, whether we feel it or not. “Though the sorrow may last for a night, joy comes in the morning.” We believe that and choose to place our hope in Your words today.