Last month, I was captivated by a sermon that my pastor gave titled “What Book Are You Writing?”
There are many things I hope I am writing with my life, but if there’s one message I want my life to convey—a life song if you will—it’s that God can completely heal brokenness.
We all have things in our life that come along and break our hearts, our minds and our spirits. We lose a loved one. We get rejected. We’ve been abused.
But there is real, tangible healing that can make us truly new, completely whole and fully alive.
Let me be clear: Healing is not magic. God will not breathe magic fairy dust over your brokenness and make it whole in one night. It will take weeks. It might take months. It may even take years.
But if we give our whole hearts to God and clear out all the junk competing for our affections, He will work in and through us. If we set our gaze on Him and love him through our night seasons, He will assuredly reveal Himself to us. If we obey His word even when it seems He’s abandoned us, He will honor our obedience and take us to new heights we never even imagined we could reach.
Do you know why I love my God? (I mean, really love Him.)
Because He brings beauty from ashes and wears forgiveness like a crown. Because it’s the nature of Him to restore what was once lost and give us gold when we ask for silver. Because we don’t have to live out of our brokenness because He came to make us whole.
The first time I learned about this nature of God I was four-years-old. I didn’t exactly know what I was learning at the time, and I’m only still beginning to comprehend it—but I can look back and find lovely, golden traces of His healing power working through the broken pieces of my tiny, shattered and confused heart after my father was unexpectedly killed in a car accident.
As you can probably imagine, I wrestled with some pretty tough questions about the nature of God at an early age. I remember being confused a lot. I remember thinking: Why would God let this happen to us if He loves us like people say He does? Why would God take my daddy from me? Why do bad things happen to good people? Is God really real? Does He even care?
Today, I am no expert on these sorts of questions, but I do have some perspective on these kinds of questions—and more importantly, I know that the very thing we are to do with these questions is to take them to God himself. (Scream them at Him if you feel the need to.) He wants our questions. He wants our confusion. He wants our pain.
Throughout my short 23 years of life, God has shown me over and over again that He will turn brokenness into beauty if we are willing to be the clay in his Potter’s hands. He showed me that through my mother’s perseverance, faithfulness and determination to love God in times of pain, confusion and complete heartbreak—in spite of how much she wanted to give up and give in to brokenness.
“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
God is the ultimate Restorer. That fact in and of itself romances me. But know this: God will not take away our brokennesses in an instant because He knows we need to fully embrace the brokenness and face it head on in order to fully to pass through it. If we don’t do this, it’s always lingering around us. We carry it when we could have walked through it and left it behind. We relive it when we could have dealt with it and moved on.
Make no mistake, my broken moments with God have been my most beautiful, tender and treasured moments. It’s where I think our true intimacy is birthed. But it is not where God wants me (or you) to stay.
When something is restored, it is not the same as it was before. It looks different. Loved ones cannot be replaced. (It’s similar to living with an amputated limb.) We can’t go out and buy a new heart. (Working on the heart that we already have is our only option.) The scars will be there. There will be cracks you can still see. We will truly never be the same.
But never being the same doesn’t mean we have to stay broken and keep our pain. I think sometimes people are slow to heal and slow to forgive and slow to be whole because they are afraid that if they heal and if they forgive and if they are whole then it’s like saying the brokenness never even happened. But that’s a lie from the enemy, because the enemy doesn’t want you tobe healed. The enemy doesn’t want you to know that your story and your healing can show someone else the glory of God.
“The glory of God is man fully alive.” (St Irenaeus)
I don’t believe the glory of God is a cloud. I don’t believe the glory of God is gold dust on our hands. I believe the glory of God is you and I—healed, restored and fully alive after death, darkness and brokenness have tried to have their way.
I know my earthly father in heaven is full of joy today (aside from the fact that He is in heaven with God himself) because my mother and I are still down here, fully healed (and taken care of by the sweetest, most humble and honorable step father and husband we could have ever asked for.) He doesn’t want me to stay broken and walk around with the heartbreak of his death because, as a child of God himself, He knows that Jesus came to take that away. He knows that my Heavenly Father doesn’t want that for me.
If you have a story of restoration or a testimony of how God has made beauty from your brokenness, share it with someone today. People need to know that this is a real, tangible and attainable thing. Too many people live out of their wounds because they believe there is no other way. Let’s show them something different.
Let’s show them the workmanship of the Potter’s hands, and the beauty that can come from brokenness. ❤