Close to the Brokenhearted

Yael Eckstein  |  October 25, 2020

Woman sitting on the ground holding her knees and crying.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit. — Psalm 34:18

In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.

If given the choice, most of us would hit the fast-forward button when it comes to the painful scenes in our lives. It’s not pleasant, the episode may be scary, and there are moments that are downright excruciating to remember. However, if we could simply skip over these challenging times, we wouldn’t be doing ourselves any favors. These are the moments that dreams are made of.


Take a look at what King David said in Psalm 34, a psalm he wrote when his life had been in danger and he had been miraculously saved. He wrote: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God is extra close to the brokenhearted. The time when our spirits are crushed is also a time of salvation. Our most trying moments can lead to our greatest triumphs. We must never waste them.

Who wouldn’t want VIP treatment from the Master of the World? And that’s exactly what David promised the brokenhearted would receive. We receive extra attention and protection from God when we most need it. It’s a time of opportunity with great potential for blessings. Here’s how to make the most of it:

First and foremost, we must pray. Pray about the situation you are in and ask God for salvation. But don’t stop there. Pray for your future. Pray for your children. Pray for your children’s children. Pray for the whole world. Pray for peace. Pray for an end to hunger. This is an opportune time — the Master of the World is close by and listening. Take advantage!

The second thing that we must do is root ourselves in faith and trust. In verse 7 David declared that “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” God and His angels surround and protect the brokenhearted. We have nothing to fear! Later in verse 19, David promised, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” God saved Jonah from the whale; He saved Daniel from the lion’s den; He parted the Red Sea for the children of Israel. He can save us, too!

The final suggestion during those challenging times is to listen for the Word of God. Sometimes, the more broken the heart is, the more light is able to enter. During those times, God is extra close to the brokenhearted so we can hear Him that much better. We can listen in our hearts for the soft still voice, or pick up the Bible and read His Word.

Remember, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Make the most of the night so that we can maximize the joy of the day.

Your turn:

Download a complimentary chapter on Sukkot: Teaching Our Children Faith, from my new book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith, to discover the important lessons about faith found in this festive celebration.