The Benefits of Brokenness

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done”: C. S. Lewis

There are issues that undercut our effectiveness. Some of them are circumstances beyond our control.  It could be a sudden loss of a job or a sudden notice of transfer from a home base to an unfamiliar territory. Broken relationships, chronic illnesses, financial losses can have crushing effects on our lives. And which one of us is immune to these?

Often times, however, we are victims of our own poor choices and it causes unbearable hurt. As a pastor, I can tell you that personal failures have had crushing effects on my personal sense of security and self-worth. But we can rest assured that God uses these very same situations for His greater purposes.

So you see, none of us are immune to trials that cause brokenness. We seldom see any immediate benefit from our brokenness. But God can use brokenness to bend our lives and turn it for His glory. It seems that everyone that God has used for any good purpose has most certainly been sifted through the difficult process of brokenness and restoration. Nineteenth-century Danish theologian, Søren Kierkegaard, captures the essence of these words when he wrote: “God creates everything out of nothing—and everything which God is to use he first reduces to nothing.” The good news is that we don’t go through those times alone. Someone once said, “Broken things can become blessed things if we let God do the mending.”

We take comfort from the fact that brokenness must precede fruit bearing. This is what our Lord said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12.24).  Richard Foster, one of today’s most influential voices on spiritual formation, says that that which results from brokenness is the crucifixion of the will. He says further that it brings “freedom from the everlasting burden of always having to get our own way.” And that’s the crucial life lesson that God wants to teach us—moving us from self-dependence to His sufficiency.

Pastor Charles Stone writes: “I’m beginning to see the great value of what brokenness has done for me. It still hurts and I’d prefer not to have faced it. Yet, I’m experiencing the fruit of brokenness: inner peace, joy, and a purpose that supersedes ministry success.” One of my mentors, Dr. Richard Heard once told me in a private conversation: “I’ve had mountain top experiences and valley experiences. But when I look back, I cherish the valleys because that’s where I learned the most.” Indeed there’s value to brokenness that we can never imagine.

May God use your brokenness to lift you up to fulfill his purpose for your life. May you have the eyes to see and understand, and may you have the will to submit to His.

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