Sometimes, for what seems like no apparent reason, a theme weaves itself intrinsically into my life. That has happened to me a lot over these last few weeks. Over and over again it plays like a song, with a few variable notes.
There is beauty in brokenness because what comes with it is: an irreplaceable sense of dependence (on God) and a complete emptying of self-reliance.
I have watched it unfold in my friend’s life as she deals with the pain of a daughter who has spurned the family. I have experienced it when my son makes a choice that shames us and goes against everything we have tried to teach him. I have friends whose family is being torn apart by divorce. I have seen several kids who are walking away from the faith and into a lifestyle of drug abuse or sexual exploitation.
The notes may be different, but the chorus is the same: all around me are lives bruised and battered by poor choices or grief from poor choices those we love are making.
We like things neat and tidy. We like obedient children. We like comforts and harmonious relationships. We like things and stuff and baubles. We like people who smell nice and act nice; people who are like us and people who like us.
But then, people mess up. They reject us. They give up on us. They let us down. They put us down. They get all stupid on us.
We mess up. We get in a funk. We succumb to worry, anxiety or despondency . We don’t love how we should. We get caught up in the pursuit of meaningless things.
We get broken. Sometimes we get down right shattered to pieces when problems come like falling dominos.
And, you know what? It’s alright. Truly, it is.
We are like rocks in a tumbler. Did you know that it takes between 3-5 weeks to tumble a rough, ugly rock into a lovely polished gem? It is a several step process that involves abrasion of several kinds and being cut as well. Bad things have to happen for these rocks to become a lovelier version of themselves.
So it is with us. Coming to the end of ourselves, the end of our expectations, the end of our selfishness, the end of our solutions for solving a problem, the end of hoping to make someone be something they are not, is precisely the climate that cultivates change. The abrasions, nicks and grittiness have their purpose.
The beauty comes when we can cling to nothing else except God. He is the constant that remains unchanged when we are shattered. He will mend what’s been broken. He will transform us into something lovelier.
An old Puritan said it best: