The Lord is Near to the Brokenhearted –
This past Thursday I offered two sessions entitled, “Walking through the stages of grief.” At both the morning and evening session I shared the core of my personal theology that helps me to process death. I shared with those in attendance that every death is different and the way each person gives is different. Some will cry. Others will become despondent. Those with a deep faith in the salvation that Jesus Christ offers will often see death as a great opportunity to live forever in heaven.
Still, when it is your mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister who has left you in death, it is not unusual to be left with a sense of emptiness and a sense that there is nothing left to live for. David tells us in Psalm 34 that the Lord will walk with us through the worst of times- death, depression and a basic broken heart.
Psalm 34: 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. 
Let me share with you how I handle death and some of the Bible verses that give me relevance and hope:
- My Theology of Death
- I believe in heaven as a reward for faith in God
John 14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
- I believe that God is much more accepting and redemptive than we are toward one another – Those who do the will of God:
Matthew 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’ 
- I expect to see my loved ones again in heaven
1 Corinthians 15: 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
- I do not believe in predestination – because God created us to be good, not evil:
Genesis 1: 26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
27 So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 
- I believe the Holy Spirit will comfort and strengthen us
John 14: 25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
2 Corinthians 4: 7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 
Questions for Reflection:
- In what ways do you feel the Lord “Is near to the brokenhearted”?
- How does Jesus save “the crushed in spirit”?
Walk with me Lord. Walk with me in my brokenness. When my spirit is crushed with sadness and despair, put me back together again. When the sting of death has rocked me like a punch to the stomach, renew my faith, restore my joy, regenerate my hope and ability to understand what I cannot understand, to move forward through my emptiness and to look forward to seeing my loved ones again in glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 34:18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 14:1–3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 7:21–23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Co 15:51–58). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 1:26–31). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 14:25–27). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Co 4:7–15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.