Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart
and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
You can join on any day – and memorize the Psalm at your own pace.
Today we add verse 18.

Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

Consider this: Early on Tuesday, July 18, 1972, I was at work at my Dad’s construction shop in Burnaby, British Columbia. Dad dashed out of his office and came down to the shop floor. He said, “Grandpa is sick and was taken to the hospital. We’ve got to leave now and pick up Mom so she can be with him. He may not make it.” The look on his face said it all.

We rushed to Coal Harbour, in downtown Vancouver, just east of Stanley Park. Dad booked a private floatplane to fly to Anvil Island where Mom was serving as one of the cooks at Daybreak Point Bible Camp for the week. She was waiting on the dock when our plane landed on the water, I saw emotions on Mom’s face that I had never seen before. She loved her Dad, and he was dying!

My grandfather, Bob, was a jovial Christian man who loved life and loved his family. He was a generous man who cared for widows and would often buy them clothing or other goods on “$1.49 Day Woodward’s – $1.49 Day Tuesday” (Vancouver people will recognize that jingle!) I often saw him shake hands with traveling preachers and slip cash into their hand as a thank-you for their ministry. He was always looking for ways to give to others. And now he was fighting for his life in a sterile hospital room after suffering a massive heart attack.

When we arrived home, Grandma was already there, lying on our couch, clearly broken-hearted. The extended family had gathered at the house because we lived just a few blocks away from the Vancouver General Hospital. Mom ran down the street to the hospital to see her Dad. Then my Uncle Dave came through the front door. He had just been with his Dad and all eyes were on him. He was silent and somber. He walked over to Grandma and knelt beside her without uttering a word. He put his arms around his Mom and she said, “Oh Dave, no! Please – NO!” And she sobbed as he said, “I’m so sorry, Mom! He’s gone!”

This was the first time in my 14 years of life that I had ever known anyone who had died. But it wouldn’t be the last. I have sat at the bedside of friends, young and old, comforting them in their last breaths and consoling family members who remain behind. I’ve seen the broken hearts of young widows and ministered to the heartbreak of a husband whose wife of 40 years was snatched from him. I’ve heard the soul-wrenching sobs of a woman being told her husband didn’t make it. I’ve been in hospital rooms where families are inconsolable. All of us will have our hearts broken at some point. Know this in advance – “God is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

Bereavement is just one cause of a broken heart. Arguments, hatred, domestic abuse, broken relationships, wayward children, and divorce shatter the heart. Unemployment, financial ruin, lawsuits, and bankruptcy can tear apart one’s heart. Accidents, injuries, surgeries, chronic or terminal medical conditions are heart-rending. Unfulfilled expectations and desires, the loss of a baby, or unrequited love cause deep sorrow of the heart.

God cannot resist a broken-hearted and contrite person. They have His full attention.


  • He is near – Today’s verse (Psalm 34:19). He puts our tears into His bottle (Psalm 56:8).
  • He cares for you – “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
  • He loves you – Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (see all of Romans 8:35-39).
  • He will comfort you – He is known as “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).
  • He will have mercy on you – “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him (Psalm 103:13).
  • He will never give you more than you can handle – “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (tested) beyond what you are able” to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13; cf. Isaiah 42:3).
  • He is making you morally more like Christ – “He also predestined (believers) to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
  • He is perfecting your character – “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (see all of James 1:2-8).
  • He will make you a comforter – “He comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Although God is the source of all comfort, He comforts us through people who have themselves experienced trials, deep sorrow, and a broken heart. God has already comforted them – not to make them comfortable – but to make them comforters. And even if you don’t see it yet, that is what God is doing in your life, too.

The LORD also wants us to have an eternal perspective. We do sorrow and should sorrow over tragic events, loss of life, and broken hearts. But for the Christian, the eternal view tells us that all of these things are temporary, momentary light afflictions. The “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). In our sorrow, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). And God Himself cares for you: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

The greatest comfort will always come from the Word of God. The LORD has preloaded it with all the comfort and consolation we need. At the death of a believer, the LORD says to “comfort one another with these words” which are found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NKJV). For the believer, we do sorrow, but not like unbelievers who have no hope. We have the assurance that those who have died, believing in Christ, will live forever with Him. At the moment of death, a believer is “absent from the body and…present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). And at the Rapture, the Lord will raise us out of the grave with a new body to “always be with the Lord.” “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”