I’ve written before about brokenness and how God can use broken things and broken lives for His glory…and that’s still true. However, when we are the broken thing and the broken life, it’s a little harder (okay, a LOT harder) to say, “Amen!” and rejoice over this fact.
Let’s face it. Anyone who has ever experienced breaking will tell you how unpleasant it is. Even the very word, “breaking,” sounds painful.
And it is.
People refer to having a breaking point, and if one ever arrives there, it isn’t a pretty sight.
Have you ever seen someone broken?
I mean truly and completely broken?
You may have. It happens in the public eye sometimes, but more often than not, it happens behind closed doors.
It happens when the weight of an incredible burden has become more than one can bear and he or she begins to break.
Sometimes it’s just a crack. A hairline fracture. But even those need time to heal.
Sometimes it’s a multiple break. A compound fracture. Those take longer to recover from.
And sometimes it’s broken into so many pieces, the damage is irreparable. All the pieces must be removed and replaced. A long and intensive surgery is necessary for this kind of break and the recovery time stretches into months and months.
You may know exactly what I’m talking about because you have experienced one or more of these types of breaking.
I’m not referring to simply an arm or a leg, but the heart and the spirit.
Most people can relate to having a broken heart.
A relationship that didn’t work out, a betrayal by someone you love, a separation or the death of a loved one…. It’s fairly safe to say we’ve all experienced at least one of these.
Though it was painful at the time, it was a hairline fracture and healed quicker than you thought it would.
You may have even experienced excruciating pain and it took longer to recover. Certain things may still cause a stab of pain at the remembrance of the situation, even though a full recovery was made. Those deeper breaks leave deeper scars.
But what about when what begins as a crack is pounded again and again until the damage is irreparable?
Our hearts are broken and are never given a chance to fully heal before the next wave appears. They keep taking a pounding until there are too many pieces to pick up.
The kind of breaking that seems to never end.
The pain of this type of breaking is indescribable. You’ll never be able to understand it unless it is experienced.
Perhaps you have experienced it and are shaking your head in agreement because you so get it.
Maybe you haven’t been there yet and are wondering how in the world I can say this kind of brokenness is a blessing.
I can say this because I’ve been there.
My heart and my spirit have taken a beating until recovery seemed impossible. I would think I was on the mend, only to turn around and be smashed again.
Wham! Wham! Wham!
As soon as I would get behind closed doors, I’d fall apart. Every day.
Wham! Wham! Wham!
It got to the place where I wasn’t guaranteed to make it to a closed door. I began to fall apart no matter who or what was around me.
The hammer would fall, and I no longer had the strength to act as though I wasn’t broken. I would be completely overtaken by sorrow and pain.
When I was in the middle of this, my first thought was not, “Wow! This is such a blessing! Thanks, Lord!!”
In fact, those words never crossed my mind.
I lived in a state of, “Lord, you have to help me! Please!!”
It took a long time for me to realize the blessing of my circumstances.
When I cried to Him, I wasn’t ignored.
When my pain became so overwhelming, He was right by my side to let me know I wasn’t alone.
When I thought for sure I was done for, He lifted the burden just enough so I could go on.
When I couldn’t see the purpose for the pain and felt like giving up, He reminded me He sees the end from the beginning and gave me strength to face the day.
Oh, I was completely broken, but I was never alone.
The Great Physician was my constant companion. He tended to my injuries and rubbed the salve of grace in my wounds.
When I didn’t even realize it was happening, He carefully picked up the pieces and skillfully began to put me back together.
Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
This word “broken” literally means “to burst or tear open.” In this verse, “contrite” means “to be crushed into powder.”
Have you ever felt your heart had been torn open and your soul crushed to powder? If so, don’t dismay. He is near and promised to save or rescue His children who find themselves in this situation.
I was reading last night in Isaiah and a verse jumped out at me.
Isaiah 48:10-11a says, “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it:”
Sometimes we’re put in the furnace of affliction where our hearts are torn open and our spirits are crushed into powder so we can be refined and purified. We may be given no explanation as to why other than the knowledge that it is for His sake…
But is that not enough of a reason to endure whatever heat the fires may bring?
To know that God is using the furnace of affliction to bring about His purposes for our lives is enough to submit to flames and look around for Him who is able to comfort us.
He promised He would be close by.
After all, who better can relate or know more about being broken than the Lord Jesus?
My experiences have taught me that He is faithful and true to His Word. No matter what kind of painful breaking may occur, I’ve never been forsaken or left alone.
It’s easy to miss at first, but look around. I promise He is there.
The blessing of brokenness is not found in the circumstances, but in His presence.