"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Last fall, I worked in a corporate office as a project manager for a brief, three-month stint. One of the projects I was always eager to manage was making the coffee in the morning. I enjoyed having a task to focus on which I knew would result in happiness for the staff and also keep me busy with minimal human interaction until I was more fully awake. One morning as I picked up the glass jar that held the coffee beans, to my surprise and extreme frustration, it slipped right through my hands and shattered into hundreds of tiny shards all over the laminate floor. Nothing of the old form could be salvaged. Every part of the container was now trash. And a few days later, the old glass container that had served its bean holding purpose well, was replaced with a sturdier, plastic canister. The glass jar had been adequate but the plastic canister turned out to be a better option for an office environment. It was tougher, lighter, handier, and more accessible. And yet, I never would have realized the greatness of the replacement if it were not for the shock of brokenness.
Frequently, I find myself trying to avoid brokenness, or at the least, the appearance of it. It leaves me exposed, humiliated, and needy - none of which sound very attractive. And yet Christ, in his counter-cultural way, has been most apparent during my times of complete brokenness. While enduring periods of great loss and disappointment, his gospel becomes experienced truth to me and no longer a learned religion. Jesus draws near, and he so mercifully becomes my own.
Most often, I realize my intense need for Christ in my shattered piles of mess rather than when life is lived in the confines of my control. A death occurs, a relationship ends, a job is lost, a disease detected - in those times where I can no longer strategically manage my life, I need to know that the God of the universe will see my shards, pick me up, and create something stronger. His nearness and mercy hover in my brokenness, as he is faithful to fix my eyes on him and rescue me once again from the binds of my limited perspective.
If you currently find yourself in a place of brokenness, or when you do in the future, embrace his nearness and wait for him to lift your head (Psalm 3:3). Wait for him to make you stronger (Isaiah 40:31). Wait for him to give you the best from what appears to be shattered and only good for refuse (Isaiah 60:17). As you consider drawing near to the Lord as Easter approaches, remember that Christ came to bind up the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1). And the cross was, and still is, the perfect, healing bandage for our broken shards. Take comfort in knowing that restoration rises from brokenness and that resurrection is imminent. Sunday is coming, my friends. It just is.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."