I have been reading the book, “Living Prayer” by Robert Benson. I was reading it earlier and got distracted with another book and have gone back to it. A really good friend has loaned me the book and unfortunately I have kept it longer than I should. I have since ordered my own copy, so I too can take notes and highlight.
The chapter I am on struck a chord with me today. In this section Robert is talking about the Eucharist and how it is often said the body of Christ is broken for each of us. He says this, “We often pray to be chosen, to be among that number when the saints go marching in. We regularly pray for God to bless us too, even though most of us already have been. We pray to be shared too, to be taken up by God for some particular thing to do and be that can only be done by us in our own way and in our own place. But it is rare to hear anyone pray to be broken. We pretty much pray to be chosen and blessed and then press right on ahead to the part about being shared. “(Pages 40 and 41) There is one final statement I would like to share with you on page 42. He goes on to say, “It is our brokenness, perhaps even our willingness to be broken that holds the key to whatever it is we have to share.”
After reading this I spent some time in prayer and reflection. What all did this mean? Have I ever prayed to be broken? I have been broken in earlier days. I have gone through some tough times that could easily have been construed I was broken. But, have I ever asked to be broken? That is something I needed to ponder.
I have often and still do pray that I be among those who enter Heaven. I have prayed regularly for my salvation. I have prayed for blessings to fall upon me. I have in the past prayed the prayer of Jabez which is a prayer for blessings. I have often prayed to God that He use me as He sees fit; or as Robert says shared. I want to be used in a way that can help others.
I have never prayed for disasters or troubles or for suffering. Who wants to pray for suffering? But according to Robert maybe we should. We should experience brokenness just as Christ did so we can also share in His glory.
God reminded me of all those times I have asked to follow in Jesus footsteps. I have prayed that God would make me more like Him; may I be filled with more of Him and less of me and in doing so maybe just maybe I have asked to be broken and didn’t realize it. If I want to have more of Jesus in me and less of me in me then maybe that includes suffering. I don’t think we get to pick and choose what part of Jesus we want and what part we want to ignore. Christianity is not a cafeteria style faith. We can’t go down the line and pick this aspect of Jesus and forget another aspect.
So whether or not I have specifically asked to be broken I have by just acknowledging I want more of Him in my life. Now this brings me to the last statement, “It is our brokenness, perhaps even our willingness to be broken that holds the key to whatever it is we have to share.” When I was broken and going through some tough times I did not understand that it was meant for good. How could any good come out of the difficult circumstances? I made some bad choices based on my feelings. Once I realized what I was doing didn’t change anything I had to find a different means to cope. I came across the scripture, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.(2 Corinthians 1:4) It hit me. God had comforted me in my times of trials and difficulties and I was to comfort others going through the same thing. I could relate to them, I could guide them and I could tell them what helped me get through and what areas to avoid. That’s where the sharing thing comes in. When we share our experiences we share Christ and what He means to us.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3) If we can look at trials in the manner we have been discussing maybe we can consider it pure joy when we are going through difficult times. I think there is a period of being upset that we need to experience before we move on to joy. I think we need to experience all those emotions God has given us before we move on to the next step of joy. We know when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane He was filled with grief for the coming days. He didn’t immediately experience joy and I don’t think He expects us to but I think there comes a time when we can begin to see God at work in our lives and He comforts us. That’s when the joy begins to settle in; not the kind of joy the world knows, but the kind of joy God gives us. I have come across people who have experienced everything I have gone through. I have in some instances helped them in their circumstances and at other times they have helped me. We have bonded through similar circumstances. We have shared life and faith.
“It is our brokenness, perhaps even our willingness to be broken that holds the key to whatever it is we have to share.” We may not ask to be broken; we may not want to be broken, but maybe being broken is what God needs from us so that others may experience God in a new way. Maybe it’s what we have to share that will help others find Christ. Maybe by embracing other’s brokenness and helping those through their difficult time healing will begin for both them and for us. One last thing to remember if we are never broken we would never experience God’s healing power.
Dear God: I don’t like to be broken and I don’t want to be, but I live in a fallen world and there are things that will cause me grief and heartache. Be with me as I go through the process of experiencing brokenness. Remind me there is always sun after storm clouds move out. Remind me it’s only in my brokenness that I may share with others and illuminate their way in the darkness. Help me to embrace others in their brokenness so healing may begin for both them and me. Remind me I must accept all aspects of your life and not just pick and choose. Thank you for your comfort and your Presence as I go through difficult times. In all these things I pray amen.