Often God gives me a word for The Spigot and the ideas surrounding it marinade in my heart and mind for days before writing. For this post, I find myself struggling with what the Father wants me to write. I notice a bit of heaviness as I approach putting thoughts to the word ruminating in my soul.
Have you ever wondered what to say or how to say something? I have and I do.
The word God has given me is brokenness. I feel brokenness within my soul as I write about it. What words best describe this deeply personal and yet universal phenomenon of the spiritual journey?
A few weeks ago a cold blast hit Littleton, Colorado. A heavy snow blew in weighing down trees and plants. The snow contained so much moisture that many trees experienced broken branches while flowers, shrubs, and grass bent and broke as well. For days after the storm, people gathered broken branches and sought to tend to the weather-beaten trees and plants. I found myself considering brokenness.
For some branches the break appeared clean, for others the broken limbs splintered from the tree trunk, and still other branches hung to the tree, though little or no life flowed to the leaves. Depending upon the tree or plant, brokenness looked unique and different, yet the storm brought brokenness to each tree and plant in one way or another.
Brokenness – having a rough surface; the act of surrender; having been fractured.
Sometimes when I hear others speak of brokenness, I notice this descriptor as an excuse for one’s character and choices. Sadly, it seems as if one’s brokenness offers exemption from repentance, responsibility, and reconciliation. This reminds me of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector told by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14.
Jesus shared this example to “some who trusted in themselves.”
I wonder, do I trust in myself? How about you? In what ways do you live self-reliant? Are there ways you live resistant to the movement of God within your soul?
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’
This Pharisee considered himself righteous and set apart. He appeared blind to the fracture within his own soul and his need for help. I imagine that the Pharisee proclaimed his brokenness and yet his prayer revealed a heart far from God, seemingly exempt from the need for repentance and reconciliation. He followed the rules, gave from his resources, and did all the right things, and yet treated others not with the love of God, but with scorn, judgement, and disrespect. From what I read in this parable, the brokenness of soul within the Pharisee failed to emerge.
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I [Jesus] tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The tax collector approached God in humility and surrender. The brokenness of his soul before God led him to pray for mercy for his sins. This individual recognized his dependence upon and need for God. His prayer revealed both a trust in God to redeem as well as a broken heart longing for the goodness and grace of God to envelop his soul.
Due to the fallen nature of humankind, we all live with brokenness. What if instead of like the Pharisee, who lived blind to and excused his rough, self-righteous, and sinful nature, we humbled ourselves, like the tax collector, allowing the Spirit to reveal the spaces within our soul that need redemption, healing, and renewal?
What if we allowed brokenness of soul to usher us more deeply into the loving presence of God; to a place to receive mercy?
When I consider living with brokenness of soul, God invites me to lean toward Him. Each day, He gently welcomes the broken parts within my being and holds them with me. In brokenness I realize my complete dependence upon God to carry and sustain me. I live not in despair, but reliance upon His grace and goodness. I need Jesus desperately.
I look to God for wisdom, instruction, and direction. He is my light and source of life; I can neither see nor live without Him. He holds my tears of relinquishment and receives my surrender. He truly becomes my all and all.
By the Spirit within, our great triune God pours His healing balm into our brokenness, offers His comfort, and leads us in the path toward wholeness and healing. Brokenness does not prevent us from coming to Jesus; brokenness qualifies us to come to Him.
This reminds me of Zacchaeus, another tax collector. The Bible tells us he climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus then spent time with Zacchaeus in his home. Upon encountering Jesus, Zacchaeus experienced repentance and brokenness of soul which led him to live out redemption. Rather than create a barrier to Jesus and others, the brokenness of Zacchaeus became a bridge for restitution and reconciliation. (See Luke 19:1-10)
How does God invite you to live with brokenness of soul? In what areas does He elicit humility and surrender? How might God direct you into repentance, restitution, and reconciliation; with your brokenness of soul?
We don’t have to climb a tree to live with brokenness of soul; God meets us wherever we are.
Let God bind up your brokenness, proclaiming liberty and release for your soul into healing and joy with Him. God receives the sacrifice of our brokenness before Him and tenderly cares for the depths of our being in His faithful presence. Although each journey of brokenness remains unique and personal, God summons all of humankind to engage this universal practice for spiritual growth and communion with our Savior.
Allow your brokenness before God to become a bridge of forgiveness, freedom, and refreshed living with Him and others.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Bless our brokenness of soul, O Lord, with your peace, power, and presence. May we live broken before you, knowing you are with us bringing redemption and renewal.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…
Psalm 51:17 – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Sammy Rhodes. Broken and Beloved: How Jesus Loves Us into Wholeness. Washington, DC. 2020.
Lysa Terkeurst. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered. Nashville, TN. 2018.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Matthew West. Broken Things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdUu6ZsdVfM
Matt Redman. Gracefully Broken. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR0lxbIP4