be near

Read: Psalm 34:4-18Bible in a Year: Psalms 29-30; Acts 23:1-15

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. —Psalm 34:18

My friend was going through some difficult challenges in her life and family. I didn’t know what to say or do, and I told her so. She looked at me and said, “Just be near.” That’s what I did, and later on we started talking about God’s love.

Many times we don’t know how to respond when others are grieving, and words may do more harm than good. Serving others requires that we understand them and find out what they need. Often we can help by meeting practical needs. But one of the best ways to encourage those who are suffering is to be near—to sit beside them and listen.

God is near to us when we call out to Him. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles,” the psalmist says. “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Ps. 34:17-18).

By putting ourselves in the shoes of others and allowing our hearts to feel compassion, we can help those who are hurting. We can be near them as God is with us and sit close to them. At the right time, the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say, if they are needed. —Keila Ochoa

Who needs my help or for me to sit alongside them this week?

The best way to encourage others may be to just be near.

INSIGHT: Notice the exuberance with which David celebrates God in Psalm 34. In verses 1-3, the king declares his commitment to continual praise and invites others to join him in the celebration. At the root of his exaltation are two great expressions of God’s care—His answers to our prayers (vv. 4-6) and His protection and provision (vv. 7-10). These take on such great value to David because he recognizes his own weakness, marked by his fears (v. 4) and his sense of personal emptiness (“this poor man,” v. 6). God’s rescue in the face of such realities is cause for celebration.

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