They were swept in by the tide, mercilessly tossed by the waves, strewn about the white sands of the beach. Broken shells with sharp, jagged edges. Crushed, with missing pieces. No longer of value. Abandoned. This is what I noticed today on my morning walk along the seashore.
It reminded me of times I’ve felt that way. Have you? Fractured. Lost. An empty shell tossed away.
We can experience brokenness in different ways. Sharp, jagged words. Crushing illness. Sudden job loss. Heart-wrenching divorce. Loss of loved ones. Death of dreams. We experience brokenness for different reasons. As a recipient of someone’s selfishness. As a consequence of our own selfishness. Because of the brokenness of our world.
It can be a desperate feeling because, try as we might, we cannot restore the beauty of wholeness to our lives. We cannot fix others or even repair ourselves. We can’t put the pieces back together.
But He who formed the sea, the sand, the shells can and does.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Our Creator executed His plan for our rescue over 2000 years ago when He sent His Son into our broken world to be broken on our behalf.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Jesus, surrendering to His Father’s plan for him, suffered, died and rose to life in order that we would be more than restored. We would be redeemed. Made new. He offers His broken body as a gift to us so that we can be made whole in Him.
“… He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body’” (Mark 14:22).
Our God sees value in us even as broken shells. He pursues us, works circumstances to draw us to Himself so that we will acknowledge our brokenness, repent of our sin, forgive those who have sinned against us, most of all, recognize our need for Him as our Saviour. And accept His gift.
By accepting God the Father’s gift to us - Jesus, His Son – by inviting Him into our heart and life, we receive His Holy Spirit to reside in us, to guide and empower us to do things we can’t on our own. We can then move forward toward wholeness by:
Acknowledging our brokenness to the One who can heal. We only postpone our healing when we ignore the situation, make excuses, blame others. We need to own it and our need for God’s help in the situation.
Repenting of our sin. Sin can be seen as self-determination, self-dependence, selfishness … notice a theme here? It’s our efforts to control our world, to manipulate circumstances, people, and results to suit us. To be the god of our life. Repentance is agreeing with God that what we’ve done, said, thought are against His character and will for us. The Holy Spirit uses our conscience to guide us, as well as revealing to us sins we aren’t even aware of. Recognizing and confessing our sins with heartfelt sorrow and a sincere desire to obey God will open the door for His forgiveness. Our loving Father wants us to be whole, but first we must be honest and humble before Him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Forgiving others. Wow, this one can be a tough one, especially if we feel we were innocent in the exchange and/or the wound is deep. But rehearsing those hurtful words, holding onto resentment will only burden us and keep us from repairing our relationship with that person and our relationship with God. We can’t control the response of others, but we are responsible for our own, even if the person is no longer a part of our world. The Holy Spirit will provide the strength to do this, sometimes instantaneously, sometimes over time, but His will for us is: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col 3:13b).
Although we live in a broken world, through the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to live joyously by surrendering each day and depending on the Lord for whatever challenges we face. Each time we choose to act, say and think in accordance with God’s will, we are being transformed into the character of His Son. The scattered pieces are redeemed until one day we will be made whole in Him and live with Him in a perfectly “unbroken” world. “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4b).
Our journey to wholeness calls for our trust, surrender and dependence only on God. Only He can redeem. Only He can bring wholeness. Only He can make all things new (see Revelation 21:5).
Especially broken shells.
- Kathi Fritz