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Author’s note: In this article, the words brokenness, suffering, cross, and weakness will be grouped together. The words sanctification, healing, life, and wholeness will also be used in close relation to one another. While we realize that these terms are not individually synonymous, the concepts are closely related and often play out hand-in-hand in the human experience.

Our Broken Lives

To experience brokenness is inevitable. It’s part of being human. We’re broken from the moment of our conception. We live out the brokenness of our own sinfulness. We feel broken by the sins of others. We’re constantly navigating the effects of living in a broken world. Brokenness touches us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. No one is excluded and it shadows every part of each one of us.

But, often unexpectedly, brokenness lends itself to a spiritual beauty that could never be manufactured without it.

Brokenness And Our Sanctification

Brokenness and sanctification go hand in hand. Remember what Jesus said? “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). 

We experience many little “deaths” in our lives. Big or small losses, hurts, disappointments, and pain infiltrate our lives regularly, and it is from this brokenness that God brings for fruit and life, both for us and for the benefit of others. This goes along with the idea of taking up our cross and following Him. Our lives will be filled with many “crosses”, often tied to our own brokenness, always intended to draw us after Christ. 

In his book, “Desiring God’s Will”, Dr. David G. Benner says this:

“Our crosses – once embraced and carried in response to Christ’s invitation to follow him as he followed the will of his heavenly Father – become the places where we meet the divine power that is the only possible agent of our transformation. The cross that I take up and carry in response to Jesus’ invitation to follow him becomes the place not only of my death but also of my resurrection. The way of Christian spirituality is the Way of the Cross. There is no alternate route. The Christian life is filled with little deaths and little resurrections, little Good Fridays and little Easter Sundays. Each embrace of my cross is a further step into the kingdom of God, a kingdom we can reach only on the other side of the death of our own kingdoms and queendoms of self-sufficiency and self-determination.”

Surrendering our brokenness, taking up our crosses, and following Jesus leads to sanctification – the sweet and distinct “set apart”-ness that comes from a life lived in closeness with God. 

Brokenness And Our Healing

Sanctification is a lifelong journey toward holiness, obedience, and Christ-likeness. And to become like Christ is to become a whole, complete human being – in unhindered, freeing friendship with God Himself. 

 Jesus experienced living within the confines of brokenness, became “perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10), and took on flesh to heal the sick and bind up the brokenhearted.  To become like Jesus doesn’t mean becoming less human and more religious. It doesn’t mean escaping brokenness by hitting some higher spiritual plane. It means allowing God to bring life out of our brokenness.

And it’s often through bringing us to be more in touch with our own brokenness and need that God shapes the life of Christ in us.

Ever hear the phrase, “It’s gotta get worse before it can get better”? Sometimes we must feel the deep pain of our brokenness so that God can heal us. 

A friend of mine once had a bad accident; he was biking on a forest trail and slipped. When he fell off the bike, he landed with his knee downward, right onto a rock. It punched a gaping hole in his knee. His healing process was pretty rough – a lot of the damaged tissue in his knee had to die before healthy tissue could regrow. He would regularly go to a wound clinic, where nurses would use hooks to re-open his injury and pull out chunks of dead tissue. It was disgusting, extremely painful, and really ugly. But it was the only way to ensure proper healing.

Get the picture?

“The spiritual formation that God requires must take place. Which is this: God allows our sin and doubt to grow and push us into a place of needing constant rescue. And it is in this place of needing constant rescue that friendship with Jesus blossoms and matures.” 
– Pastor Morgan Gagne, The Painted Door Church, Chicago

What about your own sin and brokenness is making you in constant need of rescue? That’s the very place God wants to heal, make whole, and bring forth life.

You have tested us, O God;
    you have purified us like silver.
You captured us in your net
    and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.
Then you put a leader over us.
We went through fire and flood, 
But you brought us to a place of great abundance.
Psalm 66:10-12 (NLT)

A Redemptive God

Once we’ve realized how broken we are, and how up close and personal brokenness is and will continue to be throughout our lives, we’re ready for some really good news. That good news is this:

God is a redemptive God who brings beauty out of brokenness.

There is no brokenness so great, messy, or life-altering that He cannot redeem. Trust this: no brokenness you experience, whether through your own sin, the sin of others, or just the general curse of this fallen earth, can match the brokenness of the entire world, and Jesus has already redeemed that by His death on the cross. 

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” -1 John 2:2

To quote Dr. Benner again:

“No matter how great your suffering may be, God has suffered from it first. Only when we embrace the suffering that can never be avoided do we meet the God who, as Paul says, “is everything and …is in everything” (Colossians 3:11). Joseph Campbell states that the cross is not only one historic moment on Calvary,  but the mystery through all time and space of God’s presence and participation in the agony of all living things. It is just as the Apostle Paul claimed. It is in the midst of our suffering and weakness that Christ is most present. It is here that our vulnerability and weakness meet Christ’s transformational power.”

God Intends To Make Your Brokenness Beautiful

God’s essence is redemption itself; we would have not concept of it were it not for who He is. And we can trust Him to be who He is.

Remember the truth that “ God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT )?

I don’t know what your particular brokenness is. I’ve no idea what sin you’re tempted by, what hurt others have caused you, or what kind of life circumstances have pained you. I also don’t know how God will specifically redeem and bring beauty out of it. But I do know that He will.

Can you trust Him to make your brokenness beautiful? 

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