Reading Time: 8 minutes
“By reason of breakings they purify themselves” (Job 41:25 LSV).
I recall an experience downtown in a major city recently that seems to resonate with today’s subject. Perfectly Broken. I came across a man who was obviously living on the streets, and he was passed out in the doorway of a convenience store. I was stunned to see that all of the many people coming and going into that store were quite literally just walking over him and simply ignoring him. I went over to help him, and called 911 for help and then I had people glaring and hollering at me for getting in their way.
In today’s world, broken things are looked down upon, avoided, rejected, or ignored, and sometimes, just thrown out. Anything we no longer need, we often just throw it away. Damaged goods are rejected, and that includes people. In marriage, when relationships break down, the tendency is to walk away and find someone new rather than work at reconciliation. The world is full of people with broken hearts, broken spirits and broken relationships. But there is hope among the fragments. Because of “the everlasting gospel” (Rev 14:6), we may bring all of the broken fragments of our life to Jesus and He makes art with the pieces. Here are just a few scriptures that talk about some aspect of “broken pieces” (fragments) that others have experienced.
1/ “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
There is something about reaching a breaking point that causes us to seek the Lord more sincerely and to experience Jesus more fully.
2/ King David, for example, was once a broken man, and he prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:10, 17).
Conversely, there are some things in our lives that need to be broken: pride, self-will, stubbornness, and sinful habits, for some examples. These are also things that can be perfectly broken by THE unseen Hand.
When we personally feel our brokenness, God is there. Jesus cares:
3/ “I live in a high and holy place, but also with anyone who is contrite and lowly in spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). Truly, Jesus uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. The sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts. (Psalms 51:17). It was the breaking down of Jacob’s natural strength at Peniel that got him where God could clothe him with spiritual power. (Gen 32:20).
4/ It was breaking the surface of the rock at Horeb, by the stroke of Moses’ rod that let out the cool waters to thirsty people. (Exodus 17:6)
5/ It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers, a type of breaking themselves, that the hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries. (Judges 7:19-20)
6/ It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil, and poured it forth, that God multiplied it to pay her debts and supply means of support. (2 Kings 4:1-7)
7/ It was when Esther risked her life and broke through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, that she obtained favour to rescue her people from death. (Esther 4:14)
8/ It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them, that the bread was multiplied in the very act of breaking, sufficient to feed five thousand. (John 6:12)
9/ It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box, rendering it henceforth useless, that the pent-up perfume filled the house. (Luke 7:37)
10/ It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken to pieces by thorns and nails and spear, that His inner life was poured out, like a crystal ocean, for thirsty sinners to drink and live.
11/ It is when a beautiful grain of corn is broken up in the earth by death, that its inner heart sprouts forth and bears hundreds of other grains. (Mark 4:28)
And thus, on and on, through all history, and all biography, and all vegetation, and all spiritual life, God uses and fixes BROKEN THINGS. How can we be fixed if we are not broken? Of a truth, we are not useless to Jesus when we are broken and grieving. It is quite the opposite.
Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, must know that Jesus is is in the active business of befriending each soul who is searching and open to His leading. To something bigger. To something better. Jesus is drawing near to, and using anyone who asks or desires for God’s glory. “The lame take the prey,” Isaiah tells us. (Isaiah 33:23).
When certain of the disciples were headed to Emmaus, sad, dejected, and losing all hope, they started talking about Jesus, and right then, the minute they started talking about their Lord: Jesus Himself drew near:
“And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them.” (Luke 24:15)
I am reminded of a horrifying thing that happened a number of years ago in Canada. A young lady was raped by four young men at a house party and the young men decided it would be a good idea to share a few pictures of what they were doing to her on “Social Media” . These disgusting photos were widely shared, not just in her province, but around the world. At this time in our history the provincial “law enforcement” entities involved decided it was “safer” for them to blame the poor victim of this horrific crime against her. IMO, victim blaming in and of itself should be a crime as it simply doubles the terror of the victims involved; and is often done with very little or no evidence.
The entire family was devastated, but the young lady who was the victim was so distraught after intense bullying, after she was assaulted, from many people who blamed/threatened her, hung herself to stop her terrible pain and suffering. This story which I just learned about made me cry and caused me a lot of distress. I was mortified to learn all of the evil details. I believe after reading all I could find about this event that this was a family that was completely broken by this crime done to them. But then I came across one final detail that happened shortly after this young lady died which really blessed me, and made me realize more than ever how resilient people can be. It was one of those things that came as a complete surprise, and it seemed to somewhat echo the Biblical idea how that “…all things work together for good…” (Rom 8:28). Apparently, the parents of this young lady decided to participate in that Province’s organ donation program as their daughter was just 14 and her organs were in very good shape because of her young age. As the article explained, another young teen age girl received her heart, and four other people had their life saved from one or another of her organs. So at the end of this tragic story, the young lady who had all this happen to her saved 5 lives. As the Dad said: “Now I can rest in the fact that a part of her is still living, still here today, in and through others.” This made me think of how, being perfectly broken, we can all bring all of the resulting little fragments of our brokenness to Jesus and He will “make art with the pieces.”
Friends, do not feel discouraged, for from the lips of our Lord, who died to save anyone who calls on Him, we all have this promise:
“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me in Judea, and in Jerusalem, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Jesus, in His Word, assures everyone how they are to “receive power from on high.” THIS is THE Very Good News! We must collectively and individually put away all hardness, all denunciation of our brethren, our neighbours, friends or family, all criticisms, and we must rest “perfectly broken” at the feet of our Lord. The one story of Mary in the Bible is a beautiful way to see this “power” in action:
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” (John 12:3).
There are gifts that we may rightly proportion to the character and necessities of the ones upon whom we bestow them. Jesus meets us all at the point of our felt and expressed needs. Not many of the poor would appreciate Mary’s offering, or our Lord’s sacrifice of Himself, which gift was the highest that could be given. That ointment was a symbol of the overflowing heart of the giver. It was an outward demonstration of a love fed by heavenly streams until it overflowed. And that ointment of Mary, which the disciples called waste, is repeating itself a thousand times in the open and susceptible hearts of many others today.
Are you broken and hurting now?
You may come to Jesus, rest at His feet with all of the fragments, which he will then divide and multiply for the blessing of both yourself and others whom He will put in your path. (John 6:12, John 6:37). Jesus wants us to “gather up all of our fragments” so that “NOTHING IS LOST.” (John 6:12). Many of us would likely be tempted to say when they are going through a period of brokenness:
“I called upon him, but he gave me no answer” (Song 5:6).
The Lord, when He has given great faith, has been known to try it by long delays. He has suffered His servants voices to echo in their ears as from a stormy sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained unmovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges.
Like Jeremiah, they have cried out:
“Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.”
But there IS Light in every cloud. Thus have true saints in every age continued long in patient waiting, seemingly without reply, not because their prayers were not sincere, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased Him who is our Saviour and Lord, and who gives according to His own good pleasure. (see Phil 2:13). Our patient waiting may just be that light in the clouds of/for others. (2 Cor 1:3-4).
Many think that when God comforts us, our troubles should just go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only out of a desire to be relieved of pain and not out of love for Him. We must understand that being “comforted” can also mean receiving strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our troubles. In other words, if Jesus leads us to it; then He will surely bring us through it. Not over it, not around it, but right through it. In my experience, the more I suffer, the more comfort God gives to me. If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow God to comfort you. Remember too, that every trial you endure will help you comfort other people who are suffering similar troubles. And this is why there is always “light in the clouds.” (Lev 16:2, Psalms 18:11, Psalms 104:3, Isa 19:1, Mat 17:5, etc.)
If it pleases Jesus to ask that our patience exercise itself, shall He not do as He will with His own? Clearly then, No prayer is ever lost. No praying breath was ever spent in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things that we count as refusals or denials are simply delays designed for our own best good. Jesus will sometimes delay His help that He may try our faith and quicken our prayers.
The boat may be covered with the waves, and Jesus may sleep on during the storms; but He will wake up before it sinks. He sleeps, but He never oversleeps; and there are no “too lates” with The Saviour. (Mark 4:39). Perfectly broken is rest in Christ by bringing to Him, all of the fragments of our broken lives and shattered hearts. Let fervour for Jesus come into your hearts, and unfeigned love among yourselves. If you bite and devour one another, you shall be devoured one of another. Harshness and unkindness is a curse to any home, and it is like a desolating hail in the church, or out in the community. How I wish that I could speak unto thousands: “Come unto Jesus in all your brokenness.” Do not wrap any kind of feigned love like a garment about you and say, “I believe the truth. I am righteous.” Rather surrender your wills which you have idolized, and let the will of God be done in you perfectly. When we all respond to the will of God, then the prayer of Christ “That we may be one as he is one with the Father,” will be fulfilled. (John 17:11, John 17:22).