Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blessings in the Brokenness

Can I just take a minute and address something I've heard so often lately?

In the last several weeks I have heard over and over again stories of people who were in tough, trying situations and prayed out to God saying they would spend their life serving Him if He would simply rescue them. I've also heard over and over again people say "God won't give you more than you can handle."

Wait. Can we just admit that both of those things give a totally skewed view of the God we serve?!

God will absolutely give you more than you can handle because in those times you must rely on His strength. This is when He teaches us the most. If we could  handle everything on our own, why would we ever reach out to God? He will never give you more than you can handle with Him but often we forget the last part.

And as far as the first set of stories go, I'm not saying they aren't true or that those people are wrong, but I do believe this sends a confusing message to hurting people. If I pray that same prayer and I am left in my situation does God love me less? Do those people have a formula for prayer that I don't know? Because God doesn't always work that way as much as we might hope. We don't get to bargain with God to get what we want. He's not looking for in the moment, rash promises, but rather lives fully devoted to Him long-term. And I'd argue that those lives are developed amidst these very trials. They are developed when God says "No, this is not going to disappear. I'm not calming the storm right now, but I will calm you and teach you if you will come to Me."

God is sovereign. He knows that sometimes we need the flame in our life in order to be refined.

I think one of the most beautiful stories I have heard concerning this is a metaphor relating to God as shepherd and us as sheep. Shepherds sometimes have sheep that simply will not follow them. They get lost, stray from the path and put themselves in great danger by leaving the flock. When this happens, a shepherd will break that sheep's legs.

I get it, this sounds really cruel, but wait.

With its legs broken, the sheep must be carried everywhere. Therefore, this is really more of a burden on the shepherd. But after weeks of the shepherd carrying the sheep around keeping it safe and close during its healing, the sheep will walk again. After this experience, the sheep will never wander or stray because it has been carried and has come to know and love the shepherd. 

I think this makes a great picture of our walk with God. Sometimes God allows us to stay in a broken state so that He can carry us. So we will learn to love Him and know Him more. So that when we can walk again, we will know His love so much that we would never stray again.

I know this has been true in my life, in the brokenness I have come to know God in ways I never could have in the calm seas.

 What broken situation is God allowing you to remain in so that you can call to Him and come to know Him more?

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."

Psalm 34:18 ESV  

 I like how The Message puts it even more-
"If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath."

Psalm 34:18 

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