Where is God when we are broken?
On June 22nd many years ago, I received a bluetooth device as a birthday gift, way back when bluetooth devices aren’t so popular yet. But on June 26th, barely a week old, I dropped it just as I was stepping out of the cab. I tried to whisk it with my foot, out of the cab’s way at the expense of my foot being run over by the rear tires. My effort, however, was futile.
Right before my two near-sighted eyes and far-sighted lenses, I saw it – the great devastation of my little device as the car ran over it. There on the road, long after the car has left, I gathered the broken pieces of my device.
Nursing my regret and thinking about how to break the news to the friend who gave it to me, there in the middle of the road, I thought that my life is like that of the bluetooth device. I have been run over not by a cab but by the difficult circumstances which may feel like you’ve been ran over by a cab.
Broken. Bruised. Wounded. Scarred.
But in the same way that I picked up the broken pieces of the device, He picks up the broken pieces of my life. He restores me. He gives me something new and better. Even if that something is not to my liking.
Consider Job in the Bible, who, more than anyone else, could have cried out, “Life isn’t fair!” and done as his wife suggested, “Curse God, and die” (Job 2:9, NIV). He exclaimed instead, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (1:21, NASB). Therefore, “though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (13:15, NIV).
Can we then put our trust in a loving, sovereign, and all-knowing God, who has our best interest at heart, and accept the realization that He sees the end from the beginning?
The difficulties Job experienced led him to the inner recesses of his soul, and he surrendered at the deepest level to God’s wisdom and love. In the end, he declared, “ ‘I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You’ ” (42:5, NASB). Job went from knowing about God to experiencing God.
People who respond to life’s hard experiences with faith often come out on the other side stronger, more compassionate and more joyful despite life’s unfairness.
Let’s use our brokenness to run TO God and not away from Him.
Here are 3 things to remember when we are broken:
- God is God and we are not. Being a Christian does not mean we carry an attitude of entitlement. God does not owe us anything and certainly He does not owe us an explanation. Our role is that of submission. Our posture is that of gratitude. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)
- God does not cause the grief and pain in our lives. Too often, people say that God causes the misery and the hardship that we go through but know that He DOES NOT, only He ALLOWS it for His greater purpose and for our own good. The struggles in our lives are often caused by our wrong choices, caused by other people’s actions or caused by circumstances beyond our control. Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly, but the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)
- Know the real enemy. It is easier to blame someone else than to deal with my own issues. Sadly, to some of us, it is easier to blame God than look at ourselves. If we are going to blame someone, we ought to at least make sure we are blaming the right person. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that the real enemy of our soul is not flesh-and-blood but a power that seeks to keep us at a distance from the God of perfect love. Knowing the real enemy makes us more effective in the battle. Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to have the last word. That privilege must always belong to Jesus Christ. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
In our times of brokenness, we are often vulnerable and weak but the first part of 2 Corinthians 12:9 in the Bible says that God’s grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in weakness. That goes to say that when we are weak in ourselves, we are strong in the grace of the Lord.
God has no intention to bring us harm. He does not take pleasure in seeing humans suffer or broken. Nothing slipped past Him that took Him by surprise. And you know what, when we do not understand the works of His hands, we can trust His heart.
God Knows When to Pick Up the Broken Pieces
In his book, “The Wounded Healer“, Henri Nouwen writes that only those hearts that have been broken are able to be in ministry with others. Only when we have experienced heartache and pain are we able to reach out to a world filled with brokenness and sometimes void of compassion.
Here are 3 things we can do while we are in our season of brokenness:
- Worship Him. Life isn’t fair but God is still good – whether we believe this or not. God is good as gravity is real so instead of going against Him when we are broken, we might as well worship His sovereignty.
- Read the Bible. Even if you understand what you are reading. Even if you don’t feel like doing it. Somehow, someway, God will reveal His purpose there.
- Pray. When all else fail, pray. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
God is fully aware of the pain and suffering we are enduring through our times of brokenness. We can’t hide our hearts from God. He loves us enough to expose the parts that need breaking in order that we might be made whole.
We find ourselves being broken in order that our old nature might be chipped away, or a rough spot in our character might be sanded, or an unknown talent might be revealed.
The process is painful and difficult. Nevertheless, it will be for our good.
Charles Stanley, author of “The Blessing of Brokenness” writes “One of the things I have discovered through being broken, however, is that after brokenness we can experience God’s greatest blessings. After brokenness our lives can be the most fruitful and have the most purpose. The dawn after a very dark and storm-wreaked night is glorious. Feeling joy again after a period of intense mourning can be ecstatic. A blessing can come in the wake of being broken. But this blessing comes only if we experience brokenness fully and confront why it is that God has allowed us to be broken. If we allow God to do his complete work in us, blessing will follow brokenness.”
Friend, when you don’t understand God’s hand, please trust His heart. Trust His heart in spite of broken dreams, in spite of broken relationships, in spite of losses and great disappointments. He is God. We are not.