A person with a spirit of brokenness as presented in Psalm 31:12 can be viewed as one who: 1) is emotionally distressed over sorrow, or sin; 2) possesses a contrite spirit; 3) is a softhearted vessel before God. Quoting the ESV translation of the Bible: “I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.”
I like the definition of brokenness found at this link:
“In the positive spiritual sense, brokenness is the condition of being completely subdued and humbled before the Lord, and as a result, completely yielded to and dependent upon Him also.”
Brokenness can be a good thing. How is that, you say. Often it helps us deal with very deep-rooted issues that we can not face on our own. As Pastor Charles Stanley puts it in his 2004 book The Blessing of Brokenness:
“Brokenness is not something to be shunned or avoided at all cost. Rather, it is something to be faced with faith. If we truly want to be all that God designed us to be, and therefore all that God desires for us to be, we must submit to him during times of brokenness and allow him to reveal to us why we are going through what it is we are experiencing and what he desires for us to learn from the situation.”
Sometimes it takes a completely broken heart to prepare us for healing. Sometimes it takes broken health, broken finances, broken relationships, a broken spirit. Once broken, God can mold us and re-make us into what He wants us to be. No matter how hard we try on our own, we cannot re-make ourselves. He is the Creator of all that is. He knows the minutest detail about each of us … even the placement of every hair on our body. Healing and re-making God’s creation is God’s business.
Consider what God said through Jeremiah to the nation of Israel in Jeremiah 18:2-6 as He described how we are like clay in the potter’s hand.
Scripture: (all ESV unless otherwise noted)
Jeremiah 18:2-6 – 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like (as) the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
Isaiah 64:8 –But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Psalm 147:3 – He (God) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Jeremiah 18:2-6 teaches us that the solution to our brokenness will never be achieved through our own striving. No matter how hard we try on our own, we cannot put ourselves back together. We are clay and it takes the Master Potter (Creator, Sovereign God) who formed us to put us back together when we are broken. How ridiculous of us to think that we as men of clay can somehow take the place of the Master Potter and “fix” ourselves.
True healing (entire re-making, re-shaping) will come only from God when we first admit our need for God to heal our brokenness. Our reliance upon God to be our healer is predicated on the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior. Once the focus moves away from ourselves and onto Jesus and what He did for us will we be ready for the Master Potter’s healing. Jesus himself spoke these words in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.“
Jesus knows about brokenness. He personally experienced brokenness on our behalf. He was brutally beaten, his hands and feet were nailed to a wooden cross, his side was pierced with a spear and his blood gushed out, his bones were broken, he was mocked, ridiculed and spat upon. He suffered the agony of taking upon Himself the sins of man and died a physical death. His body was properly prepared for burial and He was secured in a burial tomb sealed with a huge stone. Yet on the third day He rose victoriously above all of that brokenness to live again … resurrected from the dead by God! The completely broken Jesus was re-made by the Master Potter, God Almighty!
Indeed Jesus knows about brokenness and healing!! He knows about your brokenness and the need for your healing. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). He knows about, cares about, and “saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
God spoke through Jeremiah to the nation of Israel about the purpose for brokenness very specifically in Jeremiah 18:2-6. God’s message was not only for individuals but for the entire nation of Israel. Daily we have turned further and further away from God’s precious Word to our own ways. We have legalized the murder of unborn children through on-demand abortion. We have sanctioned living together without marriage and even same-sex marriage. Sexual sensuality and immorality are evident at every turn and idolized. At the same time there is open persecution of anything Christian. Our nation is sin-sick and addicted to “… idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21).”
Could there be a message here for us today in America? Are we going to have to be completely and collectively broken by the weight of our sin before our land can be healed? It appears the answer is a resounding YES!
I am reminded of a beautiful passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 that speaks to my heart and is related to the topic of brokenness:
A Time for Everything
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
God is the Creator and Owner of all that ever was, is, or will ever be … even time. Time is His … not ours. Is it time for you to turn your brokenness over to God for healing? I wrote an article based on the above scripture in April, 2012. You can find it at this link: In His Time
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