For a seminary class recently, I was invited to listen to a message entitled “Embracing Your Brokenness” by the well known and respected author and priest Henri Nouwen. In his message, Nouwen challenged the listener to reconsider how we view and respond to brokenness. I had never thought of "befriending brokenness” or repositioning it as a blessing in the process. Like many Christ-followers, I want to see brokenness healed, redeemed, and moved past as quickly as possible.
Befriending brokenness sounds like spending time with the painful, ugly, and embarrassing. This is not the stuff of marketing material. This is not what those who are "more than conquerors" should focus on. However, as Nouwen suggests, it is in brokenness where we find our need. It is in brokenness where we most often connect deeply with others. It is in brokenness that we most powerfully experience God's grace, mercy, love, and transformation.
In acknowledging this, I think Nouwen was on to something. As Christ-followers, we mustn't fear or pull away from brokenness. We must get comfortable enough with it to be willing to spend time with the brokenness in ourselves and others and bring it to the Lord. As we do this, we make room for the Spirit of God to bring healing through love, grace, and forgiveness and eventually redeem areas of weakness in our lives into healing, strength, hope, and encouragement.
Part of the Lord's redemptive way is gradually turning our "mess" into our "message". Our most powerful testimony often is the place where the greatest area of brokenness in our lives was touched and transformed by God. Our story of brokenness turned into wholeness can be a story of hope to others if we are willing to share. This is the Romans 8:28 redemptive process as “all things work together for good”. Brokenness in Christ leads to humility. Humility in Christ leads to grace. And grace in Christ comes in the form of the healing of our souls and redemption of our circumstances. Victory comes from brokenness if we will only bring that brokenness to Jesus. Jesus allowed Himself to be broken on the cross so that when we bring our brokenness to Him, we can be made whole.
What is the area of brokenness that has been your greatest struggle? What would it look like to view this as a vehicle of God’s grace in your life?
Sin and brokenness can be the very things that help us turn to God and discover His love and grace. It is in this understanding that we can be people-in-process with Him. But in the end with Christ, what was broken will be healed, redeemed, and made whole. Praise God!