Over the past several weeks I have been reflecting on the idea of brokenness. It has consumed my thoughts on more than just a few occasions. It’s not an unfamiliar topic. You certainly don’t have to look far to see we live in a broken world filled with broken people… but there was something about my own brokenness that was suddenly at the forefront of my mind. It is in my spiritual brokenness that I am reminded of the beauty of being broken.
God calls us out of our brokenness.
The life of Moses speaks to this. Hebrew born and raised in Egypt’s royal family, he suddenly finds himself a murderer on the run. It was this humble shepherd “slow of speech and tongue” that God later called out of the desert to lead his people to freedom.
Not unaware of his own brokenness, Moses asks, “Who am I?” That is where I find myself. Standing before the One who is calling, and my response is “but God, I’m broken.” I’m thankful that God is not surprised by my brokenness; that it is all part of His purpose. He sees my imperfections, my mess, my profound brokenness, and He not only loves me, He makes plans to use me even though I am broken.
The true beauty in brokenness is where it takes us. There are things we just can’t fix. In my own strength my personal brokenness is wasted, but when I submit to Him, He takes my brokenness and restores me from within.
God requires from us the kind of spiritual brokenness that He can use. Whether our brokenness comes from failed careers, addictions, health problems, broken relationships, failing our kids, failed marriages, the death of a loved one or something else, it is beautifully restored through Christ when we trust Him.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalms 51:17)
Kintsugi means “to patch with gold”. It is a Japanese art form and method for repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer made with gold or silver. The philosophy: embrace the imperfect, recognize the history of the object, and visibly enhance the repair instead of simply hiding the flaws. Take something broken and make it beautiful, useful, and far more valuable than the original.
This is how God beautifully restores us when we give Him our brokenness. Our tendency is to hold on, but when we surrender to Him He embraces our flaws. In His mercy, He makes us whole. The scars of brokenness, like cracks in pottery, tell a story. They also leave marks. Everyone has those scars, but they do not define who we are in Christ. They are evidence of where we’ve been, not whose we are.
Brokenness is most beautifully demonstrated by Christ himself when He was broken for us on the cross.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that made us whole was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
“At the cross, You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees
And I am lost for words, so lost in love
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered”
This chorus by Jeremy Riddle captivates the heart of the well Christian woman; to be so wholly surrendered to her God; to be beautifully broken over and over until she is restored and wholly His… for His purpose.