"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18
I am very slowly working on memorizing Psalm 34, but this particular verse has been one I have loved since my teen years. I am often brokenhearted because my personality and imagination bring the pain of others into my own heart. I am often crushed in spirit because my longing to help hurting people means I surround myself with hurting people in my work, my church, my children's school, my daily news. I can't help but do it, and yet it weighs on me. I am one of those tenderhearted people that but by the grace of God and His strong call for obedience would say, "There's no way I could do foster care. It would hurt too much to give them back."
So, I cling to having the Lord close to me, this brokenhearted and crushed one. But I also call on this promise as my heart hurts for the others I see hurting. The promise that God is close to them and is saving them.
A child asks hopefully about the next visit. There won't be a next visit, at least not for a long time.
A mother has another child with new hope. Months pass, and the baby enters foster care like the other children.
The Lord is close.
A mother sees families together at Thanksgiving, Christmas. She thinks of the children she has lost. She wonders if she will ever be able to be a mother again. She misses them like a piece of herself.
A child punches another child at school and scares everyone with violent thoughts spoken aloud. Then the child says she misses her mother.
To the brokenhearted.
A father relinquishes his parental rights. He says he regrets what he has done to so many people in this courtroom. He says, "it went wrong."
A child waits on the photo listings for adoption and waits in a residential facility. Another video is recorded. She knows the last ones didn't work either. She knows she is hard to adopt. She talks about her hope for celebrating holidays with a big family, but she can barely remember the last time she was with a family.
A child talks on and on about the sleepover at a sibling's house. We have pictures, special items about the siblings, but it's not enough.
A desperate mother lashes out before court and during court. A compassionate judge does not throw her out and just tries to get things over with. She stops fighting and cries silently, while others file out of the courtroom.
Those who are crushed in spirit.
You have come to us, Lord Jesus. Emmanuel. I speak these things softly from my broken and crushed place. Faint words of hope. Hear them and turn them into something greater.
Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.