“Brokenness”. When most hear that word, negative images and thoughts are typically conjured up. Images and thoughts about things that were once intact but now are cracked, even shattered, lying on the floor, unusable, unattractive, and worthless. Most of us have accidently knocked a glass, vase, or other fragile object off of a table and watched as it shattered to pieces on the floor. More times than not our first reaction is to fetch the broom and dust pan and try to sweep up all the broken pieces and dump them in the garbage can, acknowledging it’s complete and utter uselessness. But on rare occasions we may attempt to pick up the pieces and glue them back together, restoring the object to usefulness. Of course, the easy thing to do is to simply sweep up the pieces and toss them away, never thinking of the object again. But that’s far too simplistic in many ways, mainly because of the potential worth that still remains in the broken object.
A broken and repaired object can be of infinite usefulness if the break was not too severe and if the repair is completed properly. This is even true with a broken bone in the human body. Some say, at least for a period of time, the bone is stronger where it had been broken. So there’s a sense of restored and even renewed strength after being broken.
Not only is there a sense of restored and renewed strength, but there’s the beauty trait. There’s something beautiful about scars! That may sound strange to some, but think about it, how often we look at an old vase, wrought with discoloration, a warped and distorted body, cracks throughout, and think, “What an incredible and lovely piece!” It’s almost as if the more scars it has, the more attractive it is to us! If you think as I do when observing a piece like this, you begin to imagine all the things the vase has been exposed to, all the things it has seen, heard, participated in, etc… You think about the changes it has seen and experienced, and how wise it would be if it were an animate being and able to speak aloud of its experiences.
So brokenness, even in inanimate objects can be a beautiful, strengthening, and all around incredible thing. If this is true with inanimate objects, it’s much truer with living creatures; more specifically Christians, or those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord. Brokenness, as difficult as it may be to endure, can have tremendously positive results when understood and tolerated properly.
You see, there’s a need for brokenness as humans. We all have areas in our lives that are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, and that’s not healthy for anyone, especially ourselves. Any area of our lives that are self-centered and not surrendered to Jesus only brings disappointment, strife, a lack of peace to us, and steals God’s glory. We all, even as Christians, deal with this because of sin. John said in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” It is that which causes us to take our eyes off of Jesus and fix our desires and passions on ourselves in one way or the other. Again, no one benefits from that, and it’s a slippery slope that could ultimately devastate us. So God will see to it that the things that separate us from Him are severed from us; but please understand that the severing process is indeed a difficult process. This is more than an assumption on my part, for I have been broken, and it is indeed difficult!
Whether its money, pleasure, power, fame, or relationships that steal God’s rightful place in our lives, they all can be severed. The fact is, Jesus is everything, and our lives will not be what they should be until we acknowledge and practice that. When all is said and done, He’s all we need! Yes, he has created friendship, for His glory, but when we focus on the friendship rather than our relationship with Jesus, He will break us. I’ve often said God will arrange for even your most trusted friends to let you down, so your dependence will be in Him, not man.
Whether its friends that you depend on more than God, or something else, God will break us of it. He knows exactly what each of us are bent toward and He knows how to break us of that bend…and He will break us of that bend. And that’s a good thing. There’s nothing greater than for God, in Christ to be our sufficiency! That’s the greatest joy known to man, and God will see fit that we ultimately find our joy in Him. John Piper puts it this way, “God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him”. So all of this is for God’s glory and our good.
When the breaking process has been done, God graciously puts us back together. He gently glues the pieces back together through the blood of Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit. He restores us to a right relationship with Him, and the result is more than amazing. Just like the vase that has fallen, shattered, and put back together, we will have scars; but those scars are constant reminders of God’s grace toward us and His love for us. People see the scars and know that we have been through something significant, something that has helped make us who we are. It’s a beautiful thing to see. And just like the broken bone in the human body, once we are properly put back together, we are stronger than ever!
There’s much more to say regarding the issue of brokenness and I have only scratched the surface, but know this, when you are in the breaking process, God is working in your life to make you into something that is strong and beautiful; and while it is extremely difficult in the midst of it, when it’s over you will most certainly look back at it and rejoice, and say with David in Psalm 51:17,“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
soli deo gloria