I am a sinner if it’s not one thing it’s another, caught up in words, tangled in lies.
You are a Savior and you take brokenness aside and make it beautiful, beautiful.”
(from the song “Brokenness Aside” by All Sons & Daughters, check it out here)
Over and over in the gospels, it seems like the people who are most likely to respond to meeting Jesus and following after him are the ones who find themselves in desperate situations. They’re caught in sin and ready to be stoned. They’ve swindled their way through life and find themselves with no friends and lots of enemies. They’ve been crippled for life and just want to make it into a pool for some supernatural healing. They’ve experienced internal health issues and all they want to do is touch his garments. They are broken.
What’s the opposite of broken? Put together? The funny thing is, if any one of us actually thinks that we’re put together, we’ve got another thing coming. We’re all broken, it’s just a question of how well we show it. We all have hurt and sin and darkness deep down inside, but we hide it, we’re afraid to let anyone see it. But God sees it, no matter how hard we might try to hide it from him and everyone else.
When we come to the end of our rope and we have no place else to turn, all of a sudden, God looks like a viable option. It seems we haven’t come very far from Eden, have we? Up to the point of brokenness and helplessness, we think that we can do it ourselves, we can hold it all together, we can fix everything that comes our way. The problem is, there are a lot of things that we can seemingly fix on our own which gives us a false sense of superhumanness. Then one something comes along that is beyond our capacity to handle, we allow our superhumanness to take over and we fall flat.
What I continue to see in the Church is that it’s full of people who have managed on their own for a long, long, long time. They’ve managed to keep everything at bay and handle all of the crises that have come their way in their own strength. They can throw verses at the crisis, they can pray prayers against the crisis, they can cast the crisis out in Jesus’ name, and so they fail to see the need for complete surrender. Only our own brokenness can bring us to the place of surrender, the place where we finally figure out that there’s no use denying it anymore, we really CAN’T do it on our own.
Brokenness is not as bad as we’ve cast it to be. In fact, in the hands of the right person, brokenness can be turned around and used for good. In the hands of God, brokenness can be turned into beauty. After all, he makes beauty from ashes. We rise, like the phoenix, from the ashes of what once was, what broke us down, and we rise in the power that he gives us, not in our own power.
Are you broken? Have you handled things on your own? How is that working for you? What’s keeping you from surrender? What are you afraid of?