A.W. Tozer wrote, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” Those are difficult words to read and harder to comprehend. Honestly, we don’t want them to be true. But they are. At least that’s been my experience.
My first significant memory of trauma and brokenness was in July of 1962. I was eleven, my younger brother was nine, and our baby sister was six weeks old. My angry mother drug me before my drunken father and shouted, “You need to decide right now who you want to live with, me, or this S.O.B. Because I am leaving him tomorrow.” And then she stormed off. I was left there alone to process something that no child should have to deal with. I loved both my parents. I didn’t want to make that choice, but I had to.
I have experienced many other seasons of brokenness in the fifty-seven years that have transpired since that fateful day. But, do you know what I have learned in the process? God has used the brokenness in my life for my good and his glory!
You see, God sometimes uses brokenness to remake us. For almost anything of value to be made, brokenness is involved in the process. A tree is broken and a house is built. Soil is broken and a crop is sown and grown. Grain is broken and bread is baked. People are broken and caring and compassionate believers are reborn. Often it is out of our brokenness that our greatest influence flows. Tozer was right. Often before God uses a man or woman greatly, he first takes them through seasons of brokenness.
I recently read a story about a church that ordered new stained-glass windows for its sanctuary. All the windows arrived except for the largest panel that was to be installed at the front of the church. The congregation eagerly waited for this panel to be delivered. But when the large piece arrived, they found that the glass had been broken during shipping. The people were horrified. But then a skilled artist who was a member of the church asked if he could take the pieces and try to make a suitable replacement window out of them. In a short while, the artist unveiled the window he had created. The entire congregation agreed that the artist’s masterpiece was more beautiful than the original. What was broken was remade into something far better.
God’s grace sometimes comes to us in ways we least expect. Grace is the glue that takes the pieces of our broken lives and binds them into something new and beautiful. It forms the welcome mat that declares to the repentant prodigals of this world, “Welcome home.” Grace is the scouring pad that cleans away the blotches of sin on our record so they are remembered no more. Grace is the promise that there is life after failure and hope for broken and rebellious people.
Are you experiencing brokenness in your life right now? If so, my prayer is that the lessons I have learned over the years will be a comfort to you: Lesson #1: Nothing touches my life that does not first pass through the fingers of my heavenly Father. Nothing. Lesson #2: Everything I experience in life helps me to become a more sensitive, caring and effective servant. Everything.
Ahhh. The blessedness of brokenness.