Broken – shattered, cracked, in poor health, crushed in spirit, disappointed to the point of despair
None of us born to this sin-stained globe can honestly say we have never been broken. The fact is that we were all born broken. We were born with a sinful nature that naturally pulls us toward the enemy of our souls and away from the voice of God calling us to Himself and freedom. This inborn brokenness will lead us down the path to more and more brokenness unless we allow Jesus to break the power of sin over us. We cannot set ourselves free or heal our innate brokenness no matter how hard we try.
Recently, I ordered a figurine online. When it arrived, it was broken. I couldn’t use it in that condition. Considering the price I paid, I didn’t want to glue it back together. I wanted a new one. So, arrangements were made for a replacement to be shipped to me, and the broken one was packed up and sent back.
We are like that broken figurine. In our sinfulness, we are always trying to glue ourselves back together so we can be useful, but the glue never holds. No matter how hard we try to rid ourselves of this inherent sin nature, we can’t conquer it.
Here is the good news. Jesus doesn’t want us to try to glue our broken nature so we can look whole on the outside. He wants to make us whole from the inside out. So, He paid the ultimate price for us to actually be born again and have a new nature. And the miraculous thing is He doesn’t have to ship us off and get a replacement. He keeps us, yet He makes us brand new. Don’t try to figure it out. Just accept His invitation. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
There are other types of brokenness that enter our lives, too. Aside from our sin nature, there are various elements of this world that can break us. We can be broken mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally. Some brokenness cannot be hidden. But there are many people who look like everything is in place in their lives. On the outside, they appear to be whole, but on the inside, they are shattered. Jesus wants to take our brokenness and turn it into something good, something that is useful. The causes of brokenness are varied, but here are a few that may be more familiar than we like to admit.
There is a brokenness that comes from deliberate, unjust actions against us that crush us into the ground and leave us bleeding and fragmented while the perpetrators trample over us as they go their way.
Joseph is a prime example of injustices. He went from being the favored child in the comfort of his father’s house to being a slave in Egypt, then from there to prison. The hardest part was that his brothers were the ones who sold him. Talk about being unjustly treated and trampled on! Joseph was the poster child. But God took the years of brokenness and molded his circumstances into something good for Joseph and the whole world. He raised him up to great power and prestige, because Joseph didn’t allow his broken circumstances to break his spirit or his faith and trust in God. He had the favor of God in his life. He had no idea what the future would hold during those long years in slavery and prison, but he remained faithful through every hardship. He gave his best, regardless of his conditions.
For those who are faithful, even in unjust circumstances, God will bring something good out of the evil committed against us. Give your all, your best effort, even when the circumstances are undesirable or even demeaning. God knows what He is doing. He will reward you. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of his favor with their father and with God. They were also jealous of his dreams. So, they sold him to stop the dreams from being fulfilled. But you can’t stop God-given dreams. God will bring them to pass, regardless of what others do to try to kill them.
We can also be broken by circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes one problem after another crowds against us and seems to never let up. When that happens, we need to draw closer to God and let Him use those circumstances to help us learn what He is trying to teach us.
Job was a man who lost everything, but was restored in the end. The Bible describes him like this, “that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” God had blessed Him with material wealth also. He was “the greatest of all the men of the east.” He had seven sons and three daughters. In one day Job lost all his possessions and his children. Shortly after that, he lost his health. Even his wife lost her hope and told him to “curse God, and die.” Although her trust in God had wavered, I have to say this. She was experiencing all the loss, too, as well as seeing her husband reduced to an ailing man who was sitting on an ash pile scraping his sores. What devastation. Then, on top of it all, Job’s friends came for a visit. They began to accuse him and told him he needed to repent because he had to have done something terrible for God to allow such loss. He retained his trust in God and defended his integrity.
Finally, God Himself came on the scene to vindicate Job’s innocence and show Job and his friends just how powerful and all-knowing He really is. He restored all of Job’s wealth and gave him more sons and daughters.
Hold steady. Keep your faith firmly planted in God and His word. Don’t let circumstances uproot what you already know about Jesus. Instead, let those circumstances open your eyes to know Him better.
Then there is brokenness that we bring to our own door by selfish and indulgent living, making poor choices, then shaking the fist at God because we reap what we sow. This type of brokenness will lead to one of two roads – repentance or destruction.
The young man we know only as ‘the prodigal son’ is a perfect illustration of rebellion, brokenness and repentance. This younger son of his father couldn’t wait to be free from the confines of his father’s house, so he took his inheritance and struck out on his own. He was determined to live life his way. And he did, for a while. Scripture says he “took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” Soon, he was out of money, out of friends, out of food and out of family. He found a job slopping pigs. He had hit the bottom. All the partying, living it up, and loose morals had caught up with him and left him broken and alone. While he was in this broken condition, he began to think of his father’s house. The place he couldn’t get away from fast enough suddenly gave him hope. He finally got the courage to go back home. He even had a well-rehearsed speech that he hoped would land him a job as one of his father’s servants. What he didn’t realize was that his father had been waiting all this time, praying he would return. He ran to meet his son and restored him to full son-ship. All it took was making a move in the right direction.
That’s all it takes for us, too. We have a heavenly Father Who is eagerly waiting for us to come to Him. Repentance opens the door to restoration in our Father’s house. So, why wait any longer?
All brokenness does not lead to restoration, because many broken people harden their hearts and turn from God instead of repenting and allowing the Father to renew their position.
King Saul is a sad case of rebellion leading to destruction. When God chose Saul as the first king of Israel, he was humble and obedient. But later, rather than obeying God, he became absorbed with his own status and power.
His arrogance and pride caused him to take matters into his own hands, and he blatantly defied God on two major occasions. Once he offered a sacrifice that was to be made by the prophet Samuel. Saul grew impatient waiting on the prophet to get there, so he did it himself. Another time, he directly disobeyed the Lord by keeping the spoils of battle. When Samuel told Saul God had rejected him, Saul’s response was not one of repentance. Instead, he asked Samuel to go with him to offer the sacrifice in front of the people. He was more concerned with how he appeared before them than he was about having the favor of God. When David came on the scene and was acclaimed as a great warrior above Saul, jealousy and pride gripped his heart. He heard the people praising David for his great victories, and he purposed to kill him. Instead of repenting, Saul grew harder and more mentally disturbed, tracking David to destroy him as if that would solve his problems. Eventually Saul was killed in battle and the Philistines hung his body on the city wall as a trophy.
Don’t be a trophy for the devil. He has quite a few already. Instead of being added to his collection, you can repent and be free.
No matter how determined we are to succeed, if we are fighting against what God has decreed, we will not be successful. We will be broken and destroyed. All the power on earth cannot stop what God has spoken.
Brokenness has options regardless of its cause. When we are the victim of unjust actions from others, we can choose to do our best and honor Jesus in our present conditions. We can keep our focus on Jesus and learn the lessons of brokenness. If life’s circumstances overwhelm us with grief, fear and worry, we can choose to stand firm on the Word of God and not waver in our faith. We will be stronger when we emerge from those circumstances. When we have rebelled against God and find ourselves paying the price, we have the option to surrender it all to Jesus in repentance and allow Him to make us new. Or we can keep running into the same wall and become Satan’s trophy.
What has caused you to be broken? Maybe a relationship, rebellion against God, a disappointment, a lost job, or a spiritual hurt that left you doubting. Is God not able to touch the hurt and restore health? Of course, He is. Is He willing? Of course, He is. Are you?
Brokenness can result in something good, but that is up to us.
Allow your brokenness to lead you to Jesus.