Broke down, cracked and shattered
Left in pieces like it never even mattered
Broke down, torn and frayed, ain’t nothin’ left you could give away There’s no turnin’ round, it’s broke down
“Broke Down” By Slaide Cleaves
I love sad songs. I like seriously love them. This is one of the things about me that endlessly annoys my husband. The slower, the sappier, the sadder the song, the louder I want the volume turned up. And I don’t want to just listen to the sad song. Oh no, no, no – that would be far too kind to my fellow car-riders, I want to sing the sad song. Loud. I want to throw my head back and croon. Wail. Wallow around in the woe of the singer/song-writer right along with them. There’s just something about a really good sad song that rings true to me. Not to be overly dramatic or anything (because that would be sooo unlike me), but there’s an underlying brokenness to the world that these songs pick up on, you know? An ache…a loss that lies beneath the surface of life that keeps us yearning for a more perfect world. And maybe that’s why these songs strike such a chord with me, because they remind me that as long as I’m here, things are going to be broken. Perhaps that sounds morose to you (my husband would agree), but that’s a truth that I need to be tethered to. The truth is, things are broken.
This is a biblical principal – that we’re broken by nature. It is the state of our being. David wrote, “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” Psalm 51:5
Although events, circumstances and hardships in life may break you down even further, you’ve been broken from the beginning. Perhaps this is something you haven’t thought about, don’t want to hear, or don’t believe to be true, but I don’t have to look at myself in the metaphorical mirror very long until the cold, hard truth of the fact that I’m broken becomes abundantly clear.
We inherited our broken state of being from our first parents. In the beginning, God created the world and everything in it and he declared that it was all very good. Adam and Eve walked unhindered in the presence of the Lord until the day came that they believed the lies of Satan instead of the truth of God. As a result of their belief in that lie, they began looking for things outside of the Lord to satisfy and sustain them. As soon as that happened the relationship between God and man became fractured. And with that one break, everything else became broken.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned
In Genesis 2:24 there’s an incredibly significant verse about the state of Adam and Eve right before the fall. There, the text tells us that – the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
They walked around freely, baring all because they had not yet any shame to bear.
They were not ashamed because they had nothing to hide. They had no insecurities, no secrets, no regrets. They were not yet broken. One of the instant consequences of the fall was that they became ashamed of their nakedness
Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound of The Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 and he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself
All of a sudden Adam and Eve were riddled with insecurities, fears and doubts. And that’s how you and I walk around today – riddled with the secrets we keep, the regrets we carry, the fears that worry us, the doubts that haunt us and the insecurities that follow us. We’re broken.
The irony of our broken nature is that despite our own broken state of being, we despise broken things. If something doesn’t work right or fit us any more, if something has grown a bit worn and weary around the edges – then out it goes. Any thing we don’t need any longer, we simply throw away (I am the queen of this). Although that may have no eternal significance when it comes to “things”, this mentality tends to extend to how we view people as well. Much like our things, we prefer our people to be in good, working order. We tend to steer clear of messy people with too many issues, problems and complications.
There is a constant pressure to have it all together, to triumphantly rise above your struggles, to fit in (but just enough), to exude the impression that you possess a degree of perfection that you don’t actually have. Experience trains us to hide the fact that we’re broken.
But unlike people, God doesn’t ask us to hide the fact that we’re broken. God sees much value in broken things. In fact, he’s drawn to the broken.
The only truly Perfect One meets us in the exact place where we are broken.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Isaiah 57:15 “I dwell in the high and holy place,and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit…”
Why is it that our Holy God so deeply treasures the broken? Because being broken provides us with the opportunity to experience brokenness. Read that last sentence again and take it in slowly.
If broken is the state of our being, then brokenness is the process in which you become aware of your state of being broken. In other words, brokenness is a continual awareness of the separation that exists between you and God if not for Christ, and that awareness binds you to Him.
So it might sound a little odd, but the only remedy for a broken person is brokenness.
Brokenness reveals a heart that has been changed by the truth of who God is.
In Genesis 32, we read the story of Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob was a man known for his ability to manipulate people and situations to get what he wanted when he wanted it. In his pride and arrogance, Jacob wrestled against his fellow man and God, who graciously broke him in order that he might see the truth. Once Jacob was broken, God blessed him. Jacob said, ” I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been delivered.” Don’t miss this: The very sight of God was Jacob’s blessing. After receiving this sight, Jacob walked in brokenness the rest of his life (quite literally if you read the story).
Upon seeing the truth of who God is, comes a realization of who we are. Every time someone in the bible truly beheld the Lord they were broken. (See Jeremiah 23:9, Isaiah 6:1-5, and Acts 9 for more examples of that.)
The longer that we follow Christ, the more aware of our brokenness we will become, so I expect I will become only more and more broken until he makes me new – which thankfully, he intends to do.
Revelation 21:5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
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