Dark Night of the Soul

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.—Psalm 34:18 (NKJV)

While doing some digging for this devotional about today’s topic, I came across an anonymous quote about heartache. It read: “For sale: One heart. Horrible condition. Will take anything for it. Please. Just cut it out of my chest and end this suffering.”

Have you ever felt that way? There’s no denying that in life we all experience heartbreak to some degree or another. Whether it’s the end of a relationship, abandonment, or the loss of a loved one, it seems nothing can comfort us during our “dark night of the soul,” as St. John of the Cross put it.

Sadly, the world doesn’t offer us much encouragement beyond tired expressions like, “Time heals all wounds.” Tell that to the couple who has suffered multiple miscarriages, or the widow who has lost her best friend and lover, or to the family of a cancer patient with only months to live.

No, time itself doesn’t heal every wound. But like the anonymous author quoted above, most of us would do anything to find some way to end the pain if we could—and many try. Is it any wonder we are so prone to addiction—to substances or activities that numb or distract us from pain?

Before you fall into despair or depression thinking about your own heartache, I want you to stop and re-read today’s verse above. What is the Holy Spirit whispering to you in it?

I believe God wants to say a couple of things here. First, He wants you to know that you are not alone, and He has not forsaken you. He is closer to you than you realize. Second, this Psalm tells us that God is ready and willing to help those who are contrite in spirit.

What does that mean, exactly? Our contemporary meaning of “contrite” implies feeling bad or guilty over our actions, but in the Greek and Hebrew translations, it suggests being crushed like powder. In other words, when we are utterly broken by life’s circumstances or the consequences of our sin, and we humble ourselves before God and cry out to Him, He is faithful to come to our aid. That’s a hopeful promise you can depend on, even during your darkest hour.

DIG: Do you recall the last time you endured deep heartache? What did the Lord reveal to you during that painful season?

DISCOVER: Read Matthew 11:28-30. What burden or heartache are you facing that has you feeling tired and weary?

DISPLAY: Take time to pray today and ask God to meet you in your heartache. Cast your cares on Him and allow your Heavenly Father to carry you through this difficult season in life

About the Author

Rob Nieminen

Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.

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