Needless to say, this crushed vehicle will not transport anyone. At times, pain, suffering, and grief overwhelm us in agonizing ways. As a baby boomer, I remember exactly where I was when JFK, RFK, and MLK died. My breath caught as America swayed under the tragic news of each man’s death.
Just before my 30th birthday, I stood in a frozen cemetery in New York, watching the pastor commit my 59-year-old father’s body to the ground. I had desperately wanted him to meet his second grandchild in July. I returned to the same cemetery 12 Decembers later, this time for my mother’s burial. Cancer claimed both my parents, and I now wore the matriarchal title around my shoulders. As I sucked in frosty morning air, the crushing agony seemed to vaporize my heart.God understands crushed, evidenced primarily by the fact that He allowed His Son to be crushed for our sins, (Isaiah 55:3). However, other uses of crushed demonstrate God’s knowledge of our frailty.
For us, the crushing from grief, suffering, or pain is often visceral. Think God is too lofty to understand our human struggle? Can you identify with the psalmist here?
For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes – it also has gone from me. Ps 38:7-10
Consider Proverbs 15:13. A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Or Proverbs 17:22. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Recapturing emotional or physical equilibrium, a new normal, or, dare we hope… joy, is a journey. That trek often presents forks in the road, a map of choices: bitterness, brokenness, or benevolent grace, to name just a few. I admit to having made some temporary sojourns that parallel Bunyan’s Doubting Castle. Thankfully, I have not remained forever in places like the Slough of Despond.
As I have crept or limped out of some of life’s crushing blows, I have found repeated comfort in verses from the Old and New Testaments. May these two verses encourage us all today.
The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
2 Cor. 4:8-9