"A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?" (Proverbs 18:14)
"I cannot go," John said. "No, strike that, I could go, but I won't."
"But why not?" Alexis was confused.
"I just can't handle it right now. I am so torn up and broken and tired. I'm afraid I just might meltdown in front of everyone. I don't want to go postal in front of all my friends."
"I think you need to get out," Alexis countered. "It will be good for you to get some fresh air and be around others. I mean, I know you're hurting, but..."
John interrupted. "Oh, you know I'm hurting! Wow. Well, that's great to know. I mean, it is so reassuring to know you know I'm a hurt person! 'Poor little John, he needs our help!' It that what you think, Alexis?"
Alexis didn't know how to respond. John had battled through some trials as of late, but his response seemed entirely out of place. He had stopped attending church, wouldn't respond to texts, and never accepted an invitation to anything. He was so down. She knew he was disappointed with how a few things in his life turned out. His career as a graphic designer felt like artistic slavery rather than a creative license. His aunt, whom he was close with, had recently passed away after a long bout with cancer. And she knew he struggled to remain upbeat about his future.
But he had always been the kind of guy to talk about all that with others. Ever since Christ had come into his life, he had loved and enjoyed spending time with other believers. Now, though, something had changed. He was unwilling to pursue anyone. He was pulling out of the Christian community he'd immersed himself in over the past few years.
John's spirit was crushed. The Proverb tells us that enduring physical sickness is often easier to endure than a crushed spirit. When you become sick, it's one thing. But when you become depressed because of that sickness, it's another. Who can bear a crushed spirit? Who can handle a broken soul?
Jesus can! He is the only one able to handle the disappointed and frustrated souls of humanity. He saw all our frustration and brokenness and ran into it so that he might identify with us. He had compassion upon the shepherdless masses who drift through life. He hurt over the downtrodden and depressed state of the people around him.
Jesus loves you. He has opened a way to the Father God. By his blood, you can come into a loving relationship with your Father in heaven. This relationship means you can cast all your care upon him. You don't have to be anxious for anything but can give it all to him in prayer. He knows the spirit is weighed down and, at times, crushed, but he is there for you amid your heartache and pain. He wants you to turn to him, to access him in the dark nights of the soul.
When the moments of spirit-crushing experiences or fears come into your life, don't pull away. Press in. Do the counterintuitive thing. Don't draw the shades; get outside. Don't pull away from your church family; embrace it more than ever. Don't run from God; run to him. His grace is sufficient for you. His power is made perfect in your weakness. He is ready to place the power of Christ right on top of your weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). He is good, and he can bear your crushed spirit. Even when friends and family cannot, he can. He became one of us. He felt our humanity. He knows your frame. He can bear your hurt. Run to him.