The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18)
Expanded Passage: Psalm 34:11–22
The easiest funerals to officiate are those saints of the church who leave spiritual legacies. When she passed away, Mrs. Tillman left behind five senior adult children who were, to a person, mature believers still pursuing Christ. “Pastor,” they told me, “we’re going to miss her, but we aren’t sad. She’s with ‘her Jesus’ now.” At the funeral service, they joined together and sang multiple hymns of praise to God, even performing a special song together that honored their late mother. There were many tears shed, but they were tears of joy and certainly not tears rooted in despair.
Grief and sorrow hurt, no matter your walk with the Lord. The psalmist knew this and encouraged the readers and listeners of this psalm to recognize that God is a deliverer. “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Ps. 34:19). The key to hope and persistent trust is to remain rooted in a healthy fear of the Lord, which produces a steadfast faith.
When we face troubles in this life, who do we turn to for help? If we believe that God is close to us in our sorrow, we can develop the faithfulness to turn to him in our darkest moments. Relying on his good attributes, turning from evil, and seeking peace are faith builders that grow us in his grace.
Trust God by trusting in his ways.
Chris McFadden is pastor of Cherry Street Wesleyan in Ottawa, Kansas. He is married to his beautiful wife, Suzanne, and has two wonderful daughters, Madelynn and Eleanor.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.