My heart sank.
It was a phone call I didn’t want to get.
Several weeks ago I was out of town. My parents were taking care of my 15yr old Shih-tzu, Sophie. At her age, I am always slightly anxious about leaving, especially for an extended period of time.
I was in the middle of nowhere, Indiana, in an area where there is no cell service, when I randomly got a Facebook message. It was my mom asking me to call her when I could.
Immediately my body stiffened, my heart sank. I messaged back, What is wrong?
Nothing, she replied, just call me when you can.
Is Sophie okay, I asked?
She’s fine, we just need your input, she offered.
That didn’t ease my heart any. It was excruciating to wait hours until I could get cellphone service and make the call.
As she began to explain, Sophie has suddenly stopped using one of her back legs. She was hobbling everywhere on three legs.
They immediately took her to the veterinary hospital where the vet discovered she had completely severed her ACL. The vet offered a slightly dim prognosis of limited activity, anti-inflammatories, and rest. She would never regain normal functioning. She would never climb stairs, jump, or dance again.
When I arrived home, my heart ached to see her limping in pain. Each halting step crushed me and I was helpless to do anything to protect, heal, or remove her injury. I could not fix her or make her whole.
As I watched her movement over the next few days, it occurred to me that Sophie’s wound isn’t all that different from mine? Sophie’s limp is visible for all to see. My limp is there, though perhaps more cleverly disguised.
For so many years, I fought to hide my wounds. I was terrified that someone might witness my feeble, broken steps. I did my best to defend myself against anyone or anything that might bring me face-to-face with my deepest scars, the shadowed spaces. To reveal them would reveal my unworthiness, my nothingness, my calamity. And that was too much to bear.
Until I discovered the words in Psalms that became for me, the beginning of my healing. Psalm 34:18 (NIV) lovingly describes that, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
God is not far from me. He is close. Even in my brokenness, He is near. His eyes are on me. He compassionately measures my limp, just like I measure Sophie’s limp and long for her healing. He longs for my healing. He longs for yours.
My favorite thing about this verse is that it doesn’t say that He might save those who are crushed in spirit. He doesn’t have a “to-do” list to earn this gift. He never qualifies His great love toward us by suggesting if we get it “right” enough, “good” enough, “fixed” enough, He will save us. It distinctly, unfancifully, yet mercifully declares that He saves those who are crushed in spirit. Period.
What relief. What peace. Hope.
You don’t have to get cleaned up. You don’t have to get good enough. He loves you right where you are, just as you are. He longs to sweep you up in His arms and hold you while you heal. He will heal.
Are you limping along through life today? Have you been weathered by the brokenness that leaves you feeling helpless and hopeless?
Even though I was helpless to heal or fix Sophie’s wound, God is forever powerful to heal all of our wounds. We only have to quit hiding, quit fighting. Accept His love. Let it save you and transform you.
I don’t know what the future holds for Sophie. I’ll have to wait and see how she heals.
You don’t have to wait and see. Your prognosis is good. Your future is sure.
Blessings and peace,