Small shards and bulky hunks of jagged glass sprayed across the kitchen’s hardwood floor. That particular glass has survived half a dozen moves over 21+ years of use. However, the air drying dishes shifted somehow on the mat and the glass was now in pieces, broken on the floor.
The kitchen clock is broken too. You might not notice it. It hangs above the doorway to the laundry room merely for its decor appeal, not for its actual use of telling time. I have no idea when the battery died. Yet, it hangs there just the same, looking good, but not fulfilling its created purpose. It may be right two times a day, but essentially it is broken on the wall.
There’s a flower pot in the living room that has a huge crack in the pottery. I still love the pot and couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. So, feeling quite industrious, I placed a simple terra cotta pot inside of it and turned the marred side toward the wall. I planted a green houseplant inside and no one would know that the pot is in fact broken on the stand.
Lately, I have been contemplating on what it means to be broken.
My mom had knee replacement surgery a little over three weeks ago. Her body is broken. She goes to therapy. She needs a walker or a cane to get around. She is in pain.
A man at church, Mr. George, watched his partner of over 50 years lose her battle with cancer this week. At her memorial service, I witnessed his brokenness firsthand. His emotions are raw. He misses her. He is in pain.
Personally, I have been wrestling with an issue that has left me feeling broken as well. While I am not free to share the circumstances, I can say that it has rocked me and left me evaluating my life in ways I did not anticipate. In the center of my chest, as I have prayed and cried, I have felt that dull, throbbing but sometimes sharp and breath-catching, emotional pain that comes with being broken.
My mom, the man at church and I have very little in common with our circumstances and even in the kind of pain and loss we are feeling. But, we can all cling to and claim each promise of our faith in the One who binds up the broken and heals the hurting.
I know that they are both seeking God and counting on Him to meet their needs, but I can’t and won’t speak for my mom and the man from church. However, for me, I can say that being in this place of brokenness is growing my faith in ways that I could not have imagined.
In my desperation I have looked to God and found Him ever faithful. He has shown Himself in His Word. He has revealed Himself in the lyrics of worship songs. He has disclosed Himself through His creation. He has proven His love for me through the support of brothers and sisters in the faith.
I could list Bible verses. I could link to YouTube videos. I could reference quotes from devotionals, Instagram and Facebook. I could show text messages. – ALL used by God to speak right to the heart of my brokenness and reinforce my faith.
When the unexpected happened, the veil of my righteousness was ripped away and my sin was exposed. I was forced to accept that my faith was not nearly as strong as I thought it was. I thought I had it altogether, but when that became threatened – the ease of life and ministry and family combined with the comfort I was enjoying – I realized that somewhere along the way, I had reassumed ownership of my life, I had grown complacent with my prayers, and I had self-righteously believed that I was in control.
When the pain was at its most intense, God seemed to just let me cry. I read His word and called out to Him. He was patient and never pushy, but at just the right time, He answered my pleas. He showed me truth in His Word and gently reminded me that my life is not my own. I was bought at a price and, as His follower, I must daily die to myself to put on Christ.
Death is painful and messy and hard. Just ask Mr. George as he faces the rest of his days without his Ms. Chicky. But he knows she is more alive now than ever before. Her faith is now sight and her death was merely the gateway into a life we can only begin to imagine.
I didn’t realize that I needed to put these things to death within me until the brokenness exposed the sin in my heart. Now, as I confess and repent, I am also trusting that God will continue to keep His Word, fulfill His promises and bring life, abundant life out of death of my hopes, plans and dreams. I cling to the fact I know His ways are better, are higher than mine and there is a purpose to all this brokenness and pain.
The rehab my mom is facing is painful and messy and hard too. But she knows it has purpose and as she puts in the work, her knee will be strengthened and her overall mobility and health will improve. Just as her surgeon was strategic and skilled in his work on her knee, my Heavenly Father is being just as intentional and even more imperative with His work on my heart.
The Lord knows the outcome and what must be done to get me to that point. He does not needlessly cause me pain. Like the parent who disciplines out of love, He wastes no experience in my life to shape my heart into the mold of His Son.
He hasn’t pushed His way in, but instead has gently, lovingly whispered that He is there, that He has the right to be in control and that my brokenness is really a good thing, a very good thing.
I am not like the broken glass, that was swept up and thrown away. I am not like the clock that just needs a simple fix of new batteries to work again. I am not like the pot with my cracks masked and hidden away.
God still has a purpose for me. The fix is not easy. I know that in my faults, He is most glorified, so I long to be like Paul and boast all the more in my weaknesses – I want everyone to see and know the cracks, the breaks and the faults so God will be ultimately glorified.
The details aren’t important. The brokenness is.
I pray for my mom’s healing. I pray for Mr. George’s healing. I pray for my healing too. As I pray though, I am reminded that God, the Great Physician, uses brokenness in ways we cannot imagine or begin to understand.
I will be healed. Through the brokenness, I will be made whole and in that wholeness will be better than I have ever been.
In the brokenness, His will will be done. He will be found. He will be glorified.
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