The Blessing of Brokenness
Updated: May 4, 2020
Let me tell you about a time in my life where I lay face down on my floor, totally alone, and utterly desperate for a spiritual intervention. My life, as I had believed it would go, had taken a painfully sharp turn, derailing everything, and leaving a simmering pile of brokenness. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean when I say that this brokenness leaves you wrecked.
No human words brought lasting comfort. No self-help book or YouTube video made the pain go away. It tore me in half and I wasn’t sure how to put the pieces back together.
I remember reading the book of Job and trying to find myself in his story. No question, Job understood brokenness. A review of his losses, and the devastation he experienced had my head spinning and I often wonder why God permitted this faithful man to face such heartbreak. Not unlike Job, I wondered why, even cried out to Him to explain Himself and begged Him to make the pain end. Day in and day out, I sat at His feet, studied His word and asked Him to travel this road of brokenness with me.
Sometimes blessings are hard to find in the midst of brokenness. And there are certainly times that I would not have been ready for this message, but the truth is that I was never nearer to Him than I was in those days and months. And I wonder if you can recall days or seasons when you found yourself at the feet of Jesus pleading for relief, and finding His face turned warmly toward you. The brokenness brought you to the ultimate Source of healing and comfort. The pain drew your attention to the One who understands better than anyone, what loss is, what rejection, betrayal, and abandonment feel like. Maybe you find yourself there right now; frantic in the brokenness, pleading with our Heavenly Father for comfort and relief from the pain and the fear. If I have learned anything about Jesus, it's that He is always closest to us in our pain. He stands right with you, right now.
During this particular season of brokenness, there were days I was acutely aware of His presence; I saw Him in nature, in the eyes of my daughter and my friends; I felt Him in the kind words of strangers, and I could hear His voice reminding me that He stood with me. And, to be honest, there were days I wondered where He went. He just seemed distant, quiet. In these quiet days I waffled between frustration and desperation, and it was the desperation that led me to a deeper understanding of who God is, and the depth of His personal investment in me.
The fumbling in this dark season of brokenness helped me understand three things about God:
God’s heart breaks with mine. He hates to see His child in pain and He is always right there to comfort, support, defend, and love. His parental love for His kids means that He hurts when we hurt. If you are a Mom, you know what I mean when I say that our child’s pain is unbearable for us. Even when our children find themselves in the natural consequences of bad decisions, or when the pain is self-inflicted, we still ache with them. I know my Mother has wept more tears for me than she has for herself. And my heartache for my daughter when she hurts is unlike any other pain. We are God's children. And when we hurt, He hurts. Even if we walk into the pain through defiance and disobedience, He still hurts.
God does not change, ever. His love for me, His consistent, dependable character, His investment in me - it always stays the same. And it's always more than my human mind can fathom. The God I invited into my heart at age 6, is the same God who stood with me through the ups and downs of the 40+ years since. He is on a beach with me in Mexico, a rooftop in Kenya, and in a small apartment in Abbotsford, British Columbia. I change. I grow up and grow down. I make good decisions and bad. And He stays exactly the same. Solid. Steady. Reliable. Available. And, perhaps even more remarkable is that His love for me never changes either. He doesn’t get fed up. He doesn’t walk away, roll His eyes, lose interest, or think I’m too much. He just loves, unconditionally. Always.
There is purpose in all aspects of my story, even if I can’t see it yet. Today this truth comforts me, but there have been times that it has been a source of frustration. I have stomped my feet at God many times over the years, going toe to toe with Him in my brokenness and frustration, sometimes telling Him through tears, I don’t want this to be part of my story God! In His grace and patience He has reminded me that He would never allow anything to happen to me that He is not prepared to support me through. His allowance of brokenness holds purpose and He has a plan. We can’t see all the parts yet, and one day we will understand. But today, even though we feel confused by the why, know that God will use your story, and He will not abandon you in it.
So as we travel this road together, it is my prayer that you will capture glimpses of God in your brokenness. I pray that even though you may not understand the why, you will know the Who, and you will trust His process and His best for you and your life.