“Broken” Revisited

I don’t like the word “broken.” Broken is not a word that brings forth positive visual imagery to my pondering mind. It’s a sad word, a despairing word. Consider some of the connotations for broken:

  • broken hearts
  • broken bones
  • broken homes
  • broken relationships
  • broken people
  • broken dreams

Even broken things can produce frowns. I still remember the day my toddler made a mad dash through our home and knocked over a stone pitcher. It was one of the few heirlooms from my mom who died when I was only 13. Thankfully I quickly acknowledged that my son’s heart was of greater value than even this crock—but the loss associated with this now broken (but repaired) object still resonates.

In light of the negative associations, we wonder, can anything good come from “broken”? Oh, yes.

Benefits of Brokenness

A broken heart invites the notice and attendance of God into our need:

Respond to a broken heart by bringing it to God.

A broken spirit shapes a heart of humility and surrender and promotes worship:

  • A woman in Bethany intentionally “broke” her expensive perfume bottle to anoint Jesus. He responded in Mark 14:6 by declaring, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
  • King David’s broken spirit after his adulterous relationship produced repentance and led to a restored relationship with God. Psalm 51 reflects his heart’s cry for renewal of God’s presence.
  • Peter’s brokenness after denying Christ led to a total transformation. The disciple who was impulsive and aggressive became a courageous, gentle, and wise shepherd leader of the early church.

Let your broken spirit become a catalyst for growth and change.

A broken life brings opportunity to trust through trials, shine in the dark, and reflect faith the world cannot explain:

  • A good friend holds desperately to God’s promises following her husband’s sudden death. Watching her, I am challenged to trust Him also in spite of my husband’s disabling stroke.
  • My mother-in-law received news of the double drowning of her 2 remaining sons (her oldest son, who was my first husband, had previously died from cancer). Yet she declared, even in her grief, “God gives and He takes away.” Her trust in God’s Word reflected her unshakeable faith to a stunned community.
  • The world recently watched as Rory Feek, a Christian singer prominent in the country music world, began documenting his wife’s journey to Jesus after they chose to end treatments for cancer. He blogged about her suffering yet also wrote of her faith and her longing to see Jesus. They used their broken dreams and sorrow-filled goodbyes to point a watching world to the source of eternal life.

Perhaps we need to remember that even the brokenness of our lives can acquire worth and present ministry opportunity. It happens as our God-centered response brings the light of Christ and the power of the gospel lived out to a needy, broken world that knows “broken” only as a bad word.

Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress is still trying to like the word “broken.” Follow her on Twitter, find her on Facebook, or email her at lettiejk@gmail.com

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