The LORD is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
- Psalm 34:18
Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.
- Romans 12:15
This past Wednesday the Chicago Metro Presbytery (our denomination’s regional group of pastors and elders), held our regular quarterly meeting.
Over lunch a discussion arose among a few of us concerning the travails of parenting. One pastor, who has two teenaged daughters, mentioned the film “Eighth Grade,” which portrays the awkwardness and sorrows of an eighth grade girl named Elsie. I haven’t seen this movie, but apparently it’s quite heartbreaking. My fellow pastor shared that both he and his daughter cried all the way through it because it resonated so much with their own family’s experiences of what young teens deal with socially and emotionally.
Another pastor shared that the movie so deeply affected him that he couldn’t finish it. The first pastor who had wept through the film implored the other two of us to be sure to see/finish the movie.
I’m typically all for thought-provoking, realistic dramas. But I found myself saying: “I honestly don’t know that I can handle that movie right now.” The reason is that I’ve been struck recently by just how much grief, regret, anxiety, and shame most people bear. As I consider my own self along with the stories of so many others, the wounds that accumulate over a life-time can be overwhelming to consider.
It’s a balm therefore to remember that Jesus is near to his people, at our most crushed and broken-hearted. And it’s instructive to be reminded that we are to be present with one another in our sorrows.
Of course, there are all sorts of barriers to experiencing this sort of hope and nearness, and space does not permit much further reflection. But consider giving consideration, Christian, to the nearness of the Lord, as well as to how we might more fully live out the call to bear up one another in our mourning. There is comfort to be found in Jesus and in one another.