Question: “What does the Bible say about brokenness?”
Answer: In this world, broken things are despised and thrown out. Anything we no longer need, we throw away. Damaged goods are rejected, and that includes people. In marriage, when relationships break down, the tendency is to walk away and find someone new rather than work at reconciliation. The world is full of people with broken hearts, broken spirits and broken relationships.
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). There is something about reaching a breaking point that causes us to seek the Lord more sincerely. King David was once a broken man, and he prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:10, 17). There are some things in our lives that need to be broken: pride, self-will, stubbornness, and sinful habits, for example. When we feel our brokenness, God compensates: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit” (Isaiah 57:15).
The Bible says that God breaks those who are proud and rebellious. The mighty Pharaoh set himself against God, but God broke him and freed His people from bondage and shame. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high” (Leviticus 26:13). God punishes all those who proudly resist Him. “My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit” (Isaiah 65:14).
To us, broken things are despised as worthless, but God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory. Broken things and broken people are the result of sin. Yet God sent his Son, who was without sin, to be broken so that we might be healed. On the night before He died, Jesus broke the bread and said, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” He went all the way to Calvary to die so that we can live. His death has made it possible for broken, sinful humanity to be reconciled to God and be healed. Without the broken body of Jesus, we could not be made whole. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Only when we surrender to Christ can we be restored and transformed. Such surrender requires a brokenness on our part (Luke 9:23). Romans 6:1-14 describes how believers become dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. Claim the promise that cannot be broken: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. … The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:19-22).
Jesus viewed all things in the light of eternity, and so should we: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
God draws us, He calls to us. He longs for us to come to Him so He can heal us. Often, we are unable to hear His call because we’re so busy with other things – our lives, our families, our work, our own problems and unhappiness. Sometimes we must be broken before we realize our need. And our deepest need is to be reconciled to God. Only then can we be made whole (Matthew 5:5).
The solution can never come from our own efforts or striving, but comes only from Him. Only when we recognize our need for God are we able to take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on God and Jesus Christ. Only when we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what Jesus did for us can we begin to heal. Only when we admit our need and ask God into our life, can God begin to make us whole. Only when we confess that we are broken can God make us into what He wants us to be. Once we let go of self and place God at the center of our lives, everything else falls into place (Matthew 6:33).
During the final week of Jesus’ life, He was eating a meal, and “a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head” (Mark 14:3). The woman’s action of breaking the alabaster jar was symbolic of a couple of things: Jesus would soon be “broken” on the cross, and all who follow Him must be willing to be “broken” as well. But the result of such costly brokenness is beautiful, indeed.
Surrender to God and allow Him to make you whole, to give your life meaning, purpose and joy. Trust Him. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).