“To embrace one’s brokenness, whatever it looks like, whatever has caused it, carries within it the possibility that one might come to embrace one’s healing.” – Robert Benson
A consistent platform for politicians is to offer solutions which will fix what has gone awry in society. When these men and women are then afforded these positions of power and authority, they are charged to use their ability to work toward the goal of betterment for the sake of all. They are charged with healing the broken aspects of society and stimulating progress within our culture. This is no small task as each day we become more and more aware of just how broken the world we live in is. We come face to face with it daily in traffic jams, racism, abuse, homelessness, terrorism, crime and a list of other social maladies too long to recount. We challenge those in leadership roles to be champions of the adversities of failure, indignity and oppression which we continually interact with in our existence. Unfortunately, we also experience the overflow of what no leader can repair in a variety of places in the same reality. We feel it in the narcissism of a culture focused on self victory and personal rights. We see it in the abuse of power justified in ego, greed or self-preservation. We hear it in the ostentatious speeches of those who offer solutions without substance and enlightenment with ease. We know that there is a need for change amidst the misery, confusion and despair, and this is compounded by an abundance of deliberation and scarcity of results. What we must come to understand is that the source of this is not a Republican or Democrat, an Arab or an Israeli, a government, an ideology, a social or political agenda of a majority or a minority opinion; the essence of the turmoil which faces us daily is a direct result of the existence of evil in this world which resides in the sinful nature within every man and woman on earth. From the fall of man, guilt, shame, suffering, fear, pain and broken-heartedness have shaped the interaction of men and women with the world around them – directly as a result of the effects of the existence of sin. It is only through the grace of the Father who sent his Son to die for sin of every man woman and child who is created, that we might be redeemed from forever being marked by a life defined by the outcome of the sinful nature.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” These are the words of the Savior to his creation. The Lord is delighted in being sought by his people when they find themselves in a state of brokenness. Be it by their own actions, or by the existence and actions of evil in a world consumed with its own power and influence, the Lord calls all men to come and know the transcending peace of trusting Him amidst turmoil. He does not ask us to reform ourselves, do great and wonderful things in his name or get our circumstances under control in order to merit his affection and acceptance. He calls us, as we are, to his perfect love and forgiveness. In this broken world, He knows the conditions of our hearts and calls us away from the misery, confusion and despair to know his love and find our hope in Him. Psalm 34 says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” The Lord is close to men and women who acknowledge their brokenness and give themselves and their circumstances to Him in response. When we are broken, we are aware of our true state of destitution and dependence upon the Almighty. When we are broken, we know the depths of impotence in our lives to provide significance, heal our hurts, provide our own security or provide purpose within the chaos of day to day living. We come to know the nature in our own hearts of being a fallen creation. The only place we can find solace for the torment in our own hearts is in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Lord whose sovereign love provides restoration to the broken. When we are broken, we are vividly in touch with the powerless and finite nature which must rely on the Almighty to care for us. Through this submission we come to know the value of our true self to the heart of the Father. In our brokenness, we are overwhelmingly aware of our connected to his heart and the power of his provision for his creation which He loves. If not for our moments of being broken down and finding his true measure of our value to Him, we would not know the intense connection of glory and honor of being his children. In knowing the heart of the Father, we know our true selves as adopted sons and daughters, most loved, most cared for; so precious that He sacrificed his own Son for the reunion of our hearts to his. We come to know that nothing of our own merit can afford us this free gift of grace. The Lord finds us in our limited, broken, hopeless humanity and restores our hearts from the misery, confusion and despair. When we find ourselves broken down, we understand our clear need for the intervention of an omnipotent Lord.
Our brokenness is a place where the Almighty speaks to us and through us to others. The apostle Paul speaks of the strength of the Lord abounding in his own personal weakness. When we are broken, hands in the air amidst our weakness, tears in our eyes, hearts bare for others to see – we are acutely aware of our naked, destitute need for God. No matter what level of success someone has attained, they have experienced pivotal moments where failure, hurt and inadequacy have marked their hearts with brokenness. Fortunately for us; God uses the broken vessel to carry his power and glory, He uses the foolishly hopeful to inspire those who are under pragmatic control and He overflows the faithful with streams of peace as they trust Him with their provision. Through brokenness, sin is severed and connection to the Father is renewed. In a beaten, broken body hanging on a cross, the salvation for mankind was provided. In the stuttering mouth of a slave adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter, He spoke the words of liberation to those He called his people. In a 4’ 10” Albanian woman He comforted the orphaned, sick and dying on the streets of Calcutta. In the mumbling words of a recovering alcoholic, He showed the tenderness of love, acceptance and forgiveness that the Savior pours out to those broken beyond their limits. His power illuminates those who are steeped in their lost, broken and fearful worlds. And in response, He uses the dark places we have been, and the elements of healing He has provided in our hearts to propagate hope in others. As we are broken vessels caught in the inadequacy of our own ability to save ourselves, our connection to those around us who suffer from the same human condition is a resonating bond with which God can use us to speak to them in their brokenness. As we have wrestled with the hurt, fear and uncertainty of longing to be loved and accepted; the confusion of trying to find significance and purpose in the things, people and philosophies of this world; and the battle with our own failure to provide security and control within our lives, communities and societies – we have a basis of connectivity with those who are mired in despair in a way which can show them the hope, faith and future which is only contained in the Lord God Almighty. He uses the essence of our brokenness to communicate his heart to us and those around us. The hands which help are always filled with the scars of understanding and the healing touch of the Master. The words which care and comfort are tempered with the experience of the cross and the love of the Savior. The heart which hears the pain, fear and brokenness in another has the tenderness which only comes from the knowledge of the heart of Jesus Christ and one’s own reconciliation to the Father. As Thornton Wilder says, “Without your wounds… where would your power be? In love’s service, only the wounded soldier can serve.
The Lord, who is gracious to us amidst our need, has called us to abandon our efforts to save ourselves from the misery, confusion and despair we experience in our everyday worlds. In our brokenness, He has called us to seek Him and rely on his strength and sustenance. He uses brokenness to heal our hearts and our healed hearts to care for the broken. 1 Peter 5 calls us to rely on Him: “Be clothed in humility toward one another – for God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Be humbled under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up at the appointed time. Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.” The Lord who knows us and loves us amidst our brokenness will be gracious in joining our hearts to his and using our brokenness to touch others in their moments of need. Let us seek Him that we might know his transcendent peace amidst our broken world. Let us reflect on the places where we are weak, and know that He is infinitely strong, and providing us with strength to persevere. Let us embrace our path of brokenness in a way that transforms our lives to shine with his glory and renews a spirit of hope in those who we share his love with. Let us focus on Him in our moments of brokenness. He is moving in our hearts not only to draw us more to Himself, but to teach us what we need to love those who we interact with in his name. Much like 2 Corinthians 4 speaks, “Life is at work in you… do not lose heart. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”