The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18 (NRSV)
The news won’t stop and the death tolls climb.
Light dims on another dream.
Lab tests say it’s time to stop.
The withdrawal can’t happen because the money isn’t there.
Job applications keep receiving a “no.”
Bed seems the only safe space.
Circumstance can feel like there's a foot on the throat of our joy. It’s crushing, this pressure. It leaves bruises we imagine the people around us don’t want to see. Depression can feel this way: like a pressure that mounts on the only way we know how to live and breathe. Depression cuts off life.
“But the Lord is near,” they say.
“God will save those whose spirits are crushed,” we’re told. We cannot hear these words of comfort and resolution without asking the next logical question:
Every moment of every day, someone, somewhere is crying: “How long, O Lord?” The psalmist(s) and prophets keep company with this plea. And, at various points in our life, so do we.
Yet, the Lord is near. We may experience isolation, but we are not alone. We may feel that we are at an end, but in every case – even in death – we are only at a beginning. This is the promise of faith, of resurrection.
We may feel the need to orchestrate an end to release us from our pain. If you or someone you know is in this place, hear this: God is near. God sees you. God knows what you are experiencing. And God intends a new beginning for you in this life.
The work of God, and particularly of God’s people, is to show up. God is always, always showing up for you. With God’s help, so do we.
Know that you are never, ever alone. There is a corner to turn. May the people who can help to shine light on that opportunity never be more than a message away.
God help us. Send us your helpers – now. Because we need them. And when we can help, push us past our hesitation. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.