Brokenness is not a condition we usually desire, want, or even admit to. We typically associate brokenness with weakness, being incomplete, or something out of order. We don't strive to be broken. We don't pursue brokenness like we would wealth or fame or love. Yet, we are all broken. We are all weak, imperfect and in need, regardless of economic position or social status. Brokenness is the common denominator in all of humanity. We all come up short of perfection or wholeness. But no one seems to admit their brokenness. This is truly sad because I see such beauty in our brokenness.
The world seems to be getting worse. Hate, envy, greed, and lust seem to be overtaking us in profound, encompassing ways. Morality has become relative and God is being pushed away with blatant arrogance and ignorance. The more we believe lies and elevate ourselves, the more our crevices of brokenness widen. As our brokenness worsens, we once again turn to ourselves to find solutions. We scramble around for something to make sense out of our growing emptiness and frustration. We turn to sex or money or fame or power or anything that will cause us to appear less broken than we really are. And it seems to work, but only for a short while. The emptiness and loneliness and fear never goes away. So we chase after more money, more sex, more power and so on until our brokenness is then accompanied by fatigue or illness or death. Where is the beauty in that?!
I suppose the beauty isn't so much in the brokenness as it is born out of brokenness. Brokenness is God's agent (and sometimes God's doing) for causing the broken one to acknowledge need. We don't acknowledge need very well, at least not in America. We acknowledge want, but need is very different. To need is to require dependence, to recognize our own inabilities, our weaknesses, our shortcomings. We are so quick to live out of our pride, believing we have within us what it takes to be whole, complete, and unbroken. But we do not possess this because none of us were born with it. Instead, we were all born with the same inherent quality of need.
I find it fascinating that when God created man He breathed into him the breath of life. In other words, man was the only part of God's creation in which the Creator placed the essence of Himself within it. All the other creatures and plants and water and such was simply spoken by God into existence and then perpetuated after its own likeness. But man, human beings, were breathed into by God, our spirit uniquely tethered to the spirit of the Creator. We come from God and are only sustained by God. We require total dependence on God (whether we acknowledge Him as Lord or not!). Need, or dependence on the Sustainer of life, is fundamentally common to us all. And it is out of this need that beauty can be found in our brokenness.
Because God made us to need Him, we can only be complete in Him. In other words, whatever we attempt apart from dependence on God will ultimately fail. Even the most basic of needs will fail apart from God. For instance, if I chose to prevent myself from breathing (this would be attempting something apart from dependence on God) I would soon die. This is an obvious example, but it is true of other aspects of life as well. If I chose, even now as a believer in Christ, to live my life however I saw fit, without regard for God's Word or the prompting of the Holy Spirit, whatever I sought to do (regardless of how godly it may appear to onlookers) would eventually burn up as worthless deeds. To be whole, effective, and fulfilled requires utter and total dependence upon God. This sort of absolute surrender is truly a beautiful thing, even if it is unpopular and seems unnatural.
I remember a day, seems so long long ago, when my son came to me with this broken toy. It was a logo set that we worked at for hours to make this great creation of levers, pulleys, and motors. We had so much fun putting it together. I left him to play and went on about my studies. I heard cries of frustration and the stopping of anger coming from his bedroom just before he yelled "daddy". I rushed into his room to see him on the floor with logos everywhere and the creation we made was no more. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and asked me "Daddy can you fix this?" As we started building again I realized that it was not the brokenness of the toy that was the need, but the relationship of his father to make it all better that calmed his spirit. We could not possibility make it as it was, but we did make a new and better creation together.
Our brokenness, or state of need, is what can draw us to God, the One who can fulfill and surpass all our needs and desires. The key to finding beauty from brokenness is to quit trying to repair yourself and instead allow God to touch your deepest hurts, fears, and longings. God made you and He made you to need Him. God knows what you need even more than you do. Brokenness is God's pathway to Himself, inviting the weary wanderer to find rest and purpose and peace in His presence. Stop trying to fix your broken life! Fall on the mercy of God and allow your brokenness to bring you to the end of yourself and your ineffective solutions. God wants to add unimaginable beauty to your life - through your brokenness.