As some of you might know my Grandfather has been a huge influence on my life. Gunk as we knew him used to bowl to my brother & me for hour after hour. Many of my childhood memories include my Grandfather. He was an amazing man in so many ways; he could turn his hand to anything. He rewired houses, took care of the plumbing, he re-sprayed cars, and learned how to cut glass and repair broken windows (which was required on more occasions than you’d think!) There didn’t seem to be a thing Gunk couldn’t fix, sort or rebuild. But then one day my Gran became ill. I was only a boy so my memory is hazy but I remember praying with my Granddad that Gran would get better, that we’d all be together again; but Gran never did, a few days later my Gran died.
You learn at times like that there are so many things in life you can’t fix! You get introduced to a broken world, with broken hearts and shattered dreams! It is the world in which we all live and over the years each of us have experienced the agony of such breaks. The question is what to do with brokenness? Can I suggest we offer it to God? Someone once said to me, ‘Dave it’s amazing what God can do with your brokenness if you give him all the pieces.’ God can indeed bring beauty out of brokenness. As Bob Gass reminds us in his daily devotional, Word for Today: ‘For a plant to rise from the soil the seed must be broken. For a chick to experience larger life the shell must be broken. Even a thoroughbred horse must be broken; it must learn to respond to the tug of the rein and the sound of the master’s voice.’
He goes on to say: ‘Brokenness is the work of God by which He strips us of self-sufficiency so that the character of Christ may shine through us. Now don’t misunderstand; being broken doesn’t necessarily mean experiencing some tragedy. Many people suffer tragedy without drawing closer to God or even acknowledging Him. Indeed, the same sunshine that melts the butter hardens the clay. The issue in brokenness is not so much our circumstances, but our response. What is God trying to teach us? True brokenness is when He strips us of self-sufficiency to the extent that we’ve no strength left to fix ourselves. When God blocks every exit we try to take and we come to see that He alone is our answer, we make a life changing discovery. ‘And what’s that?’ you ask. When God is all you have – God is all you need! Bottom line: God’s power is reserved for those who have given up trying to do it in their own strength or to accomplish it for their own ends!’
I personally believe there are as many questions as there are answers in what Bob Gass has to say but I also believe that his central point is true. God is with us if we turn to him. As a young boy I saw my Granddad do that. He took his pain and sorrow to his Saviour and he taught me in so many ways that whilst we cannot fix many things we can know the one who can.
If you are going through such a time my heart goes out to you. As I finish let me share with you a verse that has been a comfort to so many.
The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18