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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Misunderstood Power of Brokenness

The word “broken” has many connotations. It is not usually thought of as a good word in terms of people, i.e. of being a broken person, but God makes it possible for brokenness to be strangely good.
Indeed, there is a type of brokenness, a biblical frailty, that is especially spiritual.
The outer person has been penetrated. God has access to the inner being.[1] This is brokenness.
The Lit Broken Vessel
In the same way that a vessel shines light from within outside, because it has been broken and put back together, effusing light from each crack, that’s how spiritual brokenness works. Not only is the vessel broken. There is light within. And that light shines out without impediment. If the vessel wasn’t broken it wouldn’t matter the amount of light within, we just wouldn’t see it, and we couldn’t be influenced by it. If the vessel was broken but there was no light, it would be as if the vessel was unbroken yet had light; there’s no light emanating.
Brokenness as in the lit broken vessel is a misunderstood power.
Not many in the world, and probably few of the faith, would cherish this thing that God cherishes very much. Until we find it within ourselves we, too, remain unconvinced, yet we, like almost everyone else on the planet, attest to gorgeous portions of brokenness that romance us via the plethora of feel-good stories that light up our social media newsfeeds. Every miracle story is etched in some form of God’s hidden brokenness. We just don’t readily recognise it. It’s the come-from-behind and victory-against-the-odds metastory that resonates through almost every award-winning song and motion picture.
The Passage to Brokenness
Connecting with this hidden power is simple. But it is, unfortunately, always soul-breaking. It’s why the Christian life is replete with suffering. And until we learn that, that suffering is an essential part of the journey of character refinement, we will continue to kick against the goads, as Saul did before he came to be Paul.
The passage to brokenness is always a long journey. It takes years. We may know the theory for years before we regularly practice its power. That’s not a bad thing. At least we know where we’re headed.
To meek and humble submission amid persecution; that’s where.
To acceptance and joy especially in trial, because of the good things of growth promised.
It still took Moses, Joseph, and David — and arguably even Jesus — at least a decade (more in Moses’ case) each to engage with their brokenness before God reconciled their growth to powerfully use each them.
Is God saving us from any of our growth before He uses us powerfully?
But He will also use us along the way, and that reality is humbling!
***
Brokenness is a deep power grossly misunderstood. What is least attractive to the unbroken person is the power of God in the person who has learned to open out their brokenness to a bleeding world.
Brokenness as a power is hope for the world for healing via a healing that came only from God.
Brokenness is healing to wholeness so, for another’s wholeness, we exemplify brokenness. A great power misunderstood.


[1] Refer to Romans 7:22 and Ephesians 3:16.

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