We are strong at the broken places because God’s strength becomes visible in our weakness.
I am reading a book right called, “Pray for me”: The Power in Praying for Others written by Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. I am loving the book. I am in chapter 3. The title of chapter 3 is “Intercession and Compassion” and of course God had some lessons for me.
A section of that chapter deals with brokenness. He relates how Jeremiah was no different from us. He saw brokenness in his own time and place and tried to make sense of it. I see brokenness every time I volunteer. I see people who are hurting or have been hurt. In my own life I have experienced brokenness through some of the situations I have been through. I would like to quote a passage from Mr. Carter’s book found on page 52:
“Every person is unique because he or she is created in the image of God. And every person is unique in his or her brokenness. And our brokenness is where God is at work in our lives. We are strong at the broken places because God’s strength becomes visible in our weakness. The clay in the potter’s hand signifies that the potter is working, shaping, molding. God is the potter and we are the clay. And through the events of our lives, God’s strength is made visible in our weakness.” (Page 52 of Pray for Me: The Power in Praying for Others by Kenneth H. Carter, Jr)
There are some powerful statements in this paragraph. We know because we have often times been told that we are created in God’s image. God created each of us in our own unique way. No two people are alike; they may resemble someone else, but they are different. Everybody at some time or another has experienced brokenness. It may be through a death of a family member, it maybe through illness, it may be through financial difficulty or through the life they have lived or the things they might have had to endure. No one will escape a time in their life when they don’t feel broken. I have felt broken many times during my life through some of the circumstances I have endured and through some difficult deaths of family members and friends.
Looking back on my life I realize I have made it through, not because I had the strength or courage to do it, but because God’s strength came through when I was weak. Those times I was broken are the very times God was at work in my life doing some miraculous healing; healing of Spirit, healing of loss and healing of wounds and scars.
I have often said I would not be where I am today had I not endured some of the brokenness of my life. I am so grateful that I experienced the things I have had to experience in my life. They were not fun going through them and I don’t wish bad luck or brokenness on anyone, but for me I had to go through that to be the person I am today. God knew I needed to be made broken so He could do some of His best work in me. Now God may choose to do His best work in you through other ways instead of breaking you and I hope he chooses different for you, but consider it pure joy if you have to go through it. I wasn’t joyful going through it, but as I look back on my life I can now be joyful and be thankful for the things I had to endure. I see now as I was enduring them God was using His strength and power in my weakness. As I tell my story people often have asked me how I managed to get through it all. I tell them the honest truth: I couldn’t have done it alone. God was there with me and now I know, after reading this book, it was His strength that got me through when I was at my weakest point.
When I was in school I took an Art class. Now I don’t have much talent when it comes to being artistic. At one point we had to work with clay and make something from it. All I will say is I am so glad God is the potter instead of me. I made something from clay. I say “something” because when I got it done no one knew what it was. It could have been a saucer, an ashtray or a number of things. I saw it as a lump of clay. The more talented kids would make things out of their clay and then not like how it turned out and would flatten the clay and start again finishing with an awesome project. I see myself as the clay in the Potter’s hands. He has had to mold me several times and He is still in the process of molding me. I know some day I will be His finished project and I will be a beautiful piece of artwork.
When we are broken we have two choices. We can choose to allow God to work in our lives and we can allow His strength to take over for us through those weak times or we can try to make it on our own.
As I was writing this I learned that a man in our neighborhood had died the previous night. I had spoken to this man in passing, but I never took the time to get to know him. We did the usual “hi” and “how are you” kind of thing. I was told he had a major heart attack. Just a few minutes ago I found out the man shot himself. I am heartbroken. I know what it is like to experience suicide in your family. My heart goes out to his family. But, this brings the point home. Apparently, this man was experiencing brokenness in his life. I don’t know if his family knew it or not, but when we are broken we need to share that with someone so they can walk along side us and help us in our brokenness. We need to not keep that kind of thing to ourselves. You may not want to tell a friend, a family member, but there are always people with whom you can share. It may be a minister or a counselor. There is always someone who will stop and listen. My neighbor decided to go it alone and lost his battle. I am urging anyone who is experiencing brokenness not to try to do it on your own. You can’t do this on your own. Allow God to come into your life and do some of His best work in you. He may choose to do that through a friend, a colleague, a minister, counselor or family member. When we are broken God will work in our lives. I hope you will use God’s strength and power to get you through the brokenness.
John Newton has made this statement: “I’m not what I ought to be. I’m not what I want to be. But thank God, I ‘m not what I used to be.” I have much more molding and shaping that needs to be done in my life. I am certainly not what I want to be yet, but thank God I am closer to being what God wants me to be today than yesterday.
Are you broken? Have you gone through brokenness? Can you look back and see where God was at work in your life? Can you see the strength of God when you were weakest? Let’s make a pact together: let’s agree to share our brokenness with someone so God can begin to work in our lives. Let’s agree to allow God’s strength and power to work through our weakness. I am always here to listen, to care and to pray with you. Don’t go it alone.
Dear God: My heart is broken for my neighbor’s family. As I sit here I am thinking of all the “should’ve done this and should’ve done that”. I am sitting here regretting not sharing with him more. Why didn’t I see the hurt in his eyes? Thank you Lord for my brokenness and for molding me into the person I am today. I know I am not what you want me to be yet, but when the time comes I will be your finished project; one that you will be proud to show off. Help me to be open to other’s brokenness in their lives. Help me to see their pain and show compassion towards them. Help me to be compassionate enough to pray for them with a heartfelt pain and not just say words that are full of empty meaning. Thank you Lord, for teaching me about compassion and pain. Use me as only You can to help those who come my way in their brokenness. Let me reach out to them and show them your love, grace and mercy. Amen