“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
As I’m writing this, we are only a week into Lent and already tragedy has caused deep concern in my heart. Sometimes hard and painful things happen to people—they get sick or even die. I’m still reeling from the horrific death of students in Florida. Ash Wednesday’s “You are dust and to dust you will return,” was branded in my brain, as well as on my forehead, this year.
Loss is a part of life; I realize this. Sometimes we lose a pet, or a family member leaves for a while, or even forever. Sometimes these things happen to other people, and sometimes they happen to us. The scripture verse above reminds us that God is close to us when we are sad, when we feel broken and angry and alone—even when we do not feel God close to us.
When I think about this journey of Lent I can’t help but look forward. The end of Lent is Easter and Easter tells the story of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, but not before he faces the cross. It’s a tremendous help to me in times of sorrow to know we have a Savior who knows deep and real pain.
Many of Jesus’ friends abandoned him. Jesus was beaten, and people said awful things to him and about him. He felt alone and scared. And then he died. God knows what our worst feelings feel like. And God has promised that he will never leave us when we are alone.
My thoughts and prayers have been with the families of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This is a very lonely, dark time for them. I’ve made a point of writing the list of names into my prayer list as a reminder.
Take some time with your family this Lenten season to name a person or persons who are having a hard time. They can be inside your house or outside (and it’s ok to name yourself). Think of ways to reach out to them and let them know they are not alone. Take some time to pray together for these people. Whether you know them or not, they need your prayers.