A Broken Vessel


In the wee hours of the morning, a tan Ford Focus drove left of center. Tires screeched. Metal clashed and crumpled. Whimpers and cries escaped the victim’s vehicle, but the other remained silent.

Amidst sirens and flashing lights, rescue vehicles arrived. As paramedics filled the gurneys, a flash came from beneath the Ford. “It’s gonna blow,” a Fireman shouted, rushing to save the driver.

“Just let me die,” Kathryn screamed. “I want to die. I don’t want to live.”

“I can’t do that, Ma’am,” he yelled, yanking the door. It wouldn’t budge. “Bring the Jaws,” he hollered while other firefighters dashed to douse the car with chemical extinguishers.

“No,” Kathryn shrieked, sobbing hysterically as the Jaws of Life opened her car like a tin can. Prying Kathryn from the wreckage, paramedics strapped her onto the last available gurney, checked her vitals, and slid her into the remaining ambulance.

With a whoop from the siren, they sped to the hospital, and the clean-up crew took over. A Police Officer took statements from the drivers of the first vehicles on the scene, but no one witnessed the accident. He marked the crash outline pictures on his report with the skid marks, other details, and his final assessment: Cause of collision—unknown. “Was the impact deliberate?” he whispered and shrugged. Only the driver of the Ford Focus could answer that, but would she?

The Emergency Room Doctors treated and released the victims but not Kathryn. Although her injuries were not life-threatening, they were severe enough to keep her overnight for observation, beginning with a psyche consult.

Daylight found Kathryn calmed from her earlier hysteria, and the psychologist noted a soft-spoken, young female in great despair. Nevertheless, he believed her when she said she fell asleep at the wheel. “Where were you going at such a late hour?” He asked.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I went for a ride.”

“Did anyone know you were leaving?”

“No, I live alone,” she said as tears spilled down her cheeks. “No one cares where I am or what I am doing. Most of the time, I don’t think my family even remembers I’m alive. No one ever calls.”

“What about work?”

Kathryn inhaled deeply and sighed. “I sit in a small cubicle doing data entry,” she said. “No one there talks to me either. Something must be wrong with me,” she howled as tears gushed. “I’m broken, and no one can fix me!”


This fictional scenario happens all too often. Maybe the details are different, but the despair isn’t. King David seemed to feel brokenness too. Although surrounded by loyal men, David felt isolated, forgotten, and crushed. During one of those times, he penned the words to Psalm 31, and in verse twelve, he writes, “I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.”


Kathryn did not know our Almighty God and Savior. Nevertheless, David did, and still, he felt broken. But usually, a broken vessel cannot be fixed, and if we try, it’s never as good as before. Psychology has no lasting answers, for it seeks to fix a sin nature that can’t be repaired—Jesus must change it.


Can despair exist alongside the Spirit of the Living God in the heart of a true believer?


If yes, yielding to God’s Word, it won’t last. The Holy Spirit will speak and even shout if needed. David’s despair broke when he voiced TRUTH two verses later, “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand…Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save me for Your mercies’ sake…O Lord, for I have called upon You.”[1]


In his brokenness, David knew his help came from the LORD. And so do you.[2]


But, if you were to counsel Kathryn, how would you answer her despair? Would you tell her God loves her with everlasting love and draws her with lovingkindness?[3] That He allows brokenness so we will seek Him?[4] Would you then tell her only by the blood of Jesus can unrighteousness be cleansed, our spirit transformed and infused with hope? Would you tell her we are never alone?[5]

[1] Psalm 31:14-17

[2] Psalm 121:1-2

[3] Jeremiah 31:3

[4] Jeremiah 29:11-13; Hosea 5:15

[5] I John 1:9; II Corinthians 5:17’ Romans 5:1-2; Hebrews 13:5


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