Written by Jonathan Bremer. Media by Cord Buchanan.
The general nature of human beings makes it quite easy to point out flaws in the world around us. As Christians, the brokenness of the world becomes more apparent when we look at it through the lens of scripture. So often, I find myself focusing on all the things going wrong in my life and in the world around me. It is easy to do, especially when we believe in a loving God who has the power to fix the broken, give power to the weak, and breathe life into beings. It becomes easy to focus on the negatives without even thinking about the positive things that are present or brought about through the brokenness. My hope is that we can begin to see beauty in the times when life is falling apart.
The world encourages us to conceal or cover up our brokenness. Our weaknesses and imperfections are buried and confined inside ourselves and rendered shameful things never to be spoken of. We are left to wrestle with and fight feelings of guilt, loneliness, shame, and hurt on our own. Afraid of exposure, we cling to the needle and thread as we sew a mask for ourselves to cover our brokenness. This human tendency, this man-made construct, is not a healthy one. It is mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually damaging. This is not the way God desires for us to live.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things! Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Here, Isaiah tells of the Lord’s mercy and faithfulness, even in Israel’s unfaithfulness. The Lord’s love and care, even in the midst of seemingly unfruitful and undesirable places, is living and active. We are reminded that we cannot dwell on the things that have happened. We are shown and encouraged to look for the things God is doing in our situations here and now. This is regardless of the barrenness of our location or what is happening in our lives.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'” In this passage, Jeremiah is writing after the Israelites were taken into exile by the Babylonians. Their homeland was destroyed and their lives, as they knew them, lay in tatters. But still, even in the ruins, God reminded his people that he had a plan and a purpose for them; and that he wouldn’t forget them.
It is in these moments where it is hardest to find beauty in our struggles. God’s glory and grace can sometimes get lost when we are so focused on our state of disrepair. However, there is beauty to be found in our brokenness. There is a light of hope to be seen in the darkness. This process starts with surrender. We must be willing to let go of our desire for control and give God the control instead. When we surrender the things that create noise in our lives, we can begin to listen for God’s voice. This is when we can start hearing God’s voice through the noise of the world. Once we can quiet the world and hear God’s voice, we can begin to see how God is shaping us and using our brokenness to make beautiful things.
So, as we go about our lives this next week, I would encourage you all to step away from the noise. Whether that is social media or the news, just set that aside. Take quiet time to yourself, where you can reflect on where you are at and what God is doing in this chapter of your life.