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I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon at the hospital, visiting a friend of a friend who is quite possibly (barring a miracle) approaching the end of his days here on earth.  Nothing makes you feel more vulnerable as a pastor. More sober. More powerless.

In these moments, I find myself wishing God was a formula. Give $30 to the charity of your choice, recite this pre-written prayer, and read Leviticus (surely if you can get through Leviticus there’s a prize), and God will heal. Every time. The formula says so.

But God’s not a formula.  His response isn’t always predictable. We don’t manipulate His sovereignty.

There’s only one thing I can attest to: whether I’m in a Honduran slum, a shelter for battered women, or a dying man’s hospital room, God’s presence is always so tangible among the brokenhearted.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18 NLT

God never promised life would be easy. That it would make sense.  That our formulas for trying to explain Him would always reconcile.  But He did promise He would always be near. That He would never leave us. That He would be close to the brokenhearted.