This year has been a year of brokenness for me. Brokenness is uncomfortable and often as human beings we look for ways to be “unbroken” or at least appear that way. After all, if something is broken it means it needs to be fixed. Right? That’s how it works in the natural world. If your car breaks down, you fix it. If you break a bone, you go to the doctor. So when we face brokenness spiritually in our hearts the obvious natural solution is: find a way to be fixed. But, what if being spiritually broken doesn’t immediately require repair? I know it sounds crazy to our natural ears, but spiritual brokenness is not always a bad thing. At least that is what I’ve discovered in my own journey. This year especially I have felt like my heart has been smashed into a billion little pieces. I can’t even really name a situation that would justify this feeling. Maybe it’s a combination of the many things happening in my life: new responsibilities, personal loss, etc. When I first started feeling this brokenness, I didn’t like it. It’s uncomfortable. My heart is vulnerable and tender. I immediately went to God and asked Him to fix me as soon as possible. I quoted all the scriptures that said that’s what He was supposed to do like:
” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (Jesus), because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” – Luke 4:18
“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3
But His response was not what I wanted because nothing changed.
Next I tried the spiritual duct tape remedy. People do it all the time in the natural world. I remember seeing a red car that had it’s side mirror duct taped on and then the tape was spray painted red to match the car. I do have to say it looked pretty tacky but it did the job, well… sort of. If you didn’t look at it for very long or if you just glanced at it in dimly lit light, you might be fooled into thinking it was the original mirror. I tried to do the same thing with my heart; use spiritual duct tape. Who knew there was such a thing…lol! I tried to patch up my heart through pretending everything was okay; hiding, burying, walls, masks, ignoring, whatever I had to do to feel fixed.
You can guess it didn’t work and I found myself back at the feet of Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that brokenness led me to the feet of Jesus? I have faced many trials and tragedies in my life, and I have always tried to embrace them. If I have to go through them, I might as well learn from them and hopefully grow myself or be able to help someone else along the way. I try to maintain this attitude when facing trials but it’s really hard to embrace pain. It’s not in our nature! We don’t just run up to pain and give it a hug. So, with every trial this is a challenge for me. So here I am at the feet of Jesus having a struggle within. I knew what I had to do: Embrace it.
Somewhere in there I heard a sermon titled, “Broken In All The Right Places” and my mind was made up. I would try to embrace brokenness.
I have many mornings in the car on my way to work, where the tears pour out of the brokenness of my heart to Jesus. I’m broken for people. I’m broken for situations. I’m broken for ministry. I’m broken from the past. I’m broken for more of Jesus. It all pours out. But interestingly, I’ve discovered that brokenness can lead to healing, a greater burden, a deeper relationship with God. It doesn’t make sense does it? But it’s true. Those tears invite Jesus to come sit with me in my car and oh the communion we have! (“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” – Psalm 34:18) Those tears cleanse my heart from hurts. Those tear strengthen my burden and love for people. Those tears deepen my longing for more of Him!
When I think of brokenness, I see a concrete box with no opening. There are things undiscovered inside. How did they get there? How can you get them out? Break it. Yes you may find some rubble, but there may also be treasure.
I see a clear glass with a crack. It’s fixed with duct tape. It functions, but you can’t see what’s inside. What would happen if the duct tape was removed? All the liquid may leak out. But what if it was needed to be a conduit instead of a reservoir? What if it was needed to be transparent so you could see what or rather Who was on the inside?
I see a piece of square clay that needs to fit into a triangle mold. Some clay may have to be stripped away. But in the end, it will fit the mold it was intended for.
These are the images that come to mind.
Brokenness leads to healing by getting rid of the bad and allowing you to discover the treasures that God has placed within.
Brokenness makes us a conduit of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We were born in the shape of iniquity. Brokenness shapes us into what God has intended for us to be.
Now, brokenness is beginning to look completely different.
In one of the most beautiful prayers, David prayed, “Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” (Psalm 51:8)
Why rejoice over brokenness? Let’s think about it physically for a minute. Doctors break bones to lengthen them in cases such as dwarfism. In the same way, God breaks us to grow us. We rejoice over brokenness because it means spiritual growth.
I see a glow stick. The only way for it to shine: it has to be broken.
I still have times where I fight brokenness, but I try my best to embrace it. I know God is doing a work in me and to Him I say, ” You are the Potter. I am the clay. Have you way dear Lord.”
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” – Psalm 51:17