“For the Lord said to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” (Jeremiah 4:3)
This was one of the many messages received by the prophet Jeremiah from God when he was commissioned to bring warnings to the people of Israel. There were dark days settling down upon their nation and Israel was trusting in false security and they were allowing the enemy to destroy her because she was not willing to turn freely to their God.
Fallow ground is the kind of ground that is left idle and uncultivated instead of producing grain and fruit it produces weeds and thorns. We can see this to mean that there can be no blessings without effort and no harvest without plowing and tending of the soil. Before anything can become useful something needs to be broken first. Consider the building of a home, the home cannot be built before the wood is broken down before a foundation can be laid down there is a rock that must be blasted from its quarry and the rock must be broken down in order to create the foundation or in order to produce grain and other crops from soil, the soil first must be broken down before it can produce.
Before there can be life there must be death and before there can be great joy there needs to be great weeping. Jesus said these words about being broken “Unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies there can be no fruit.” This not only is the natural law of life but it is also the law in the spiritual realm. Simply put, there is no making without breaking.
Look around you, we live in a broken world, history shows that nothing is enduring, nothing lasts forever
because everything, every government, every system every program, ideals and the like all get broken down. Even the history of human life is the history of breaking and brokenness. As Christians, we need to realize that every broken thing in our lives is but an assurance that God is making something useful from it. Romans 8:28 reminds us of this “All things work together for good to them that love God.”
If we are being broken by disappointments, heartaches, illness, sadness and the like, we need to realize and try to understand that even though the broken things in our lives seem like tragedies to us, to God they are opportunities for Him to use for His glory. Broken things to us are cast aside and we call them “junk” but God casts aside all that is not broken and considers it useless.
Inside each and every one of us lies the Holy Spirit, whether we believe it or not it is the truth, it is that
whisper you might hear in your mind when you are in need of guidance or comfort. It is often difficult for
us to recognize that still quiet voice that sometimes echos words of wisdom to us but it’s there. The Holy
Spirit is the only source of power and light in the Christian way of life, often it is referred to as “fire”.
This light or fire has been placed in earthen vessels, which is us and in order for the light of the Holy Spirit to be seen and felt by us the vessel, we must be broken just like the vessels talked about in the story of Gideon in Judges 7:18-20.
The average believer, will go through life without letting the power of the Holy Spirit flow out and it rarely shines forth, nor do we listen to His voice when He is speaking to us. It was no different in the days of Gideon, they had the torches hidden inside of earthen vessels so there was no light or victory until the vessels were broken.
We all need to be broken. Too often, and I admit I am guilty of the same thing, we moan and groan about the sad fact of broken things in our lives and only see what we perceive to be unfairness, why me? We forget that it is the broken things that God time and time again has used for His glory and it is only after we are broken that we can be the very best for God.
No one wants to admit that they are broken and that is all due to human pride. If we admit that we are broken then we are admitting that we are weak and that we can’t do things on our own. That pride often does not let us hear the truth, grace, and love in this simple statement. “This is my body which is broken for you.” (1 Corinthians 11:24) These memorable words were the institution of the Holy Eucharist and if we understand correctly they should be words of great comfort during times of trials in our lives. These are words that should help us to see that even Christ had to be broken in order to not only glorify His Father in heaven but to be able to save us all from our slavery to sin. Jesus Himself said it well “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just one grain; it never becomes more by itself alone. But if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.”
Brokenness is all around us, broken homes, broken hearts, broken bodies, broken hopes, broken health, broken vows, broken lives and all of it brings sadness to our hearts. However, we need to understand that this is simply the course of nature. We see broken things as calamities and accidents, we associate them with failure. But what most of us forget is that all these so-called “tragedies” are known to God. With His grace, He can bring out of those broken fragments in our lives something that is so much better, something so much more beautiful, more enduring than whatever precious thing that lies broken at our feet.
In God’s eyes, there are no calamities and He knows no disappointments. God knows all things from the
beginning and nothing that happens ever surprises Him. And because He knows everything from the beginning that means He has planned every broken piece in our lives and He knows where every piece belongs like a puzzle and until all the pieces of the puzzle are put in their proper place the puzzle of our lives will remain just that, a puzzle until it is time for God to reveal the finished work.
If you are being broken and your heart is grieving there is comfort for you. God knows all about your pain, in fact, He would not allow it to happen if He didn’t see that in the end, it will serve a great purpose in your life that you don’t know about right now. Often things that we think are our greatest trials and tragedies we later find out that it is God’s way of bringing us something much better. We think that all broken things are a loss but God always turns them into again. In fact, God will never use a man until he is broken.
There is always a battle between grace and nature. In the natural world first is first, last is last, but Jesus tells us that in a world of grace the “first shall be last” and the “last shall be first”. In the natural world, it is whoever is the greatest among us will lord it overall. But grace tells us “He that would be greatest among you, let him minister to the least of these.” Just as Jesus did when He knelt and washed the feet of His disciples.
The Bible is full of illustrations of the truth of God using only broken things to gain victory and glory. Genesis talks about broken fellowship and then God uses that to exhibit His grace. Exodus talks about the broken law and how God uses it to prove to man how much he needs salvation and grace. In Numbers there is the talk of the broken covenant, Judges talks about broken pitchers in the hands of 300 men. Samuel tells of a man with a broken back who sat at the king’s table. In Psalms, we read about the outpouring of a broken and contrite heart. In Matthew, we read about broken loaves of bread at the hands of Jesus to feed the multitude plus much more. But most importantly is the broken body of our Lord on the cross….”This is my body, which is broken for you.”
The law was broken by Israel, and it seemed like such a tragedy, but this was God’s way of revealing to His people that they were in dire need of His grace. God in His infinite wisdom knows that the law stands to condemn a man, it stands to punish sinners and to punish sin. He also knows that no man can be saved by the law and this is why God provided the world with His sacrificial Lamb. The Lamb whose blood just as the blood of the lamb in Passover saved His people, this blood of this Lamb would save all mankind if they believe.
This means that the “broken law” requires a broken Savior and that broken Savior calls for a broken heart. It is only through broken things that there can be blessings. Even Jesus could not be a Savior without being broken first. Except for the grain of wheat which must be broken and ground into flour can we have bread so is it true that without being broken Christ could not have become the Bread of Life for the world. It was only through allowing the flow of His Son’s blood could Christ atone for all of our sins. Without the precious Blood of Christ, there could be no salvation.
Our pride stands in the way of our admitting to our own brokenness and I admit it took me years on my spiritual journey to finally come out and admit to God that I was broken. This one comment from Christ at the Last Supper cannot be mentioned enough. “This is my body which is broken for you.” Remember, Christ had a beautiful home in heaven, but He was willing to give that up to walk among man, to live as man, to suffer as man, to be despised, to be rejected by His own people, the great friend of sinners willingly gave His all, all the way to His death on Calvary just so that we all might have eternal life.
There is no shame in admitting that we are broken, it is not a sign of weakness instead it is a sign of strength and faith in God. For God is asking that we entrust to His hands the few loaves we have and then let them be broken, let us be broken. God is forever asking for broken loaves, for broken hearts, for broken men and women. We need to let Him have whatever we have so that He can use that brokenness for His glory!
“This is my body which is broken for you.” This is what Jesus said to His disciples as He passed the broken bread around. He gave His all for us and He never asks us to do something that He has not done Himself. If we find something is too hard for us in our lives, we need to stop and remember the Cross on Calvary and stop our complaining. His body was literally broken when they scourged Him with the skin bursting open and raw flesh could be seen. He was broken when they crowned Him with thorns and when they drove the nails into his hands and feet as they impaled Him on the cross, He was broken when they pierced His side as the water and blood flowed to testify to His death and the reality of His suffering, as well as He, was broken for us. After all of that, He only asks that we are broken for Him so that we can break our earthen vessels open to release His light and let it shine for all to see.
Christ only asks for us to give Him the few loaves of our lives so that He can increase them for us and then give them back to us so we can share them with others in this world. There is no shame in being broken, only glory. In fact, we really can’t be His until we are truly broken and admit it to ourselves and to Him.
When we are broken, there is no doubt there will come suffering in our lives. Often times we misunderstand the suffering and regard it as unfair. However, if we look at suffering through God’s view, we will discover the following about suffering:
•Suffering enables us to glorify God. For example, Jesus allowed Lazarus to die in order that He might be glorified and that His friends might experience the joy of resurrection.
•Suffering can silence Satan. God will use our experiences of suffering to silence the enemy of His
Word. One of the best examples of this is the story of Job. God gave Satan the privilege and the right to lay his hand on Job and take everything away from him. But instead of Job complaining about it and turning against God he praised Him instead. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
•Suffering can make us more like Christ. God has chosen us to be saved and through our suffering He can make us more like His Son. He wants to save all of us from hell and return to Him in heaven but most of all, He wants us to be more like His Son and suffering is one way in which He can do this.
•Suffering can make us more appreciative. When we go through various trials in our lives often time it can open up our eyes more clearly and we can more easily appreciate all of the blessings that God has given us. Sure it can be a lot more difficult to praise God when we are going through dark and difficult times but suffering can give us a sense of appreciation that we can’t find any other way.
•Suffering teaches us to rely more on God. Often times during our times of trial we will turn to God and this can be a tool to teach us to do that more often, if not always. It teaches us to not rely upon our own strength but the strength of God.
One of the hardest things for most of us to understand is that we see ourselves as too important, we believe things will fall apart without us and those who love us would also be totally lost without us. But more times than not this isn’t the case and when we realize that this is true, it is hard on our pride and the truth of this can humble us. It can take something out of us and it can teach us that we need to learn to depend on God for all things.
God will only expend His effort on something that has the promise of having value. And He does His work in us through our suffering, trials, difficulties, and testings and if we don’t experience these things our lives will be barren.
Someone once said, “Sunshine all the time only makes a desert.” So we need those clouds, those darker days, the storms and the rain just as much as we need the sunshine in our lives.
Because it is through this darkness and the storms of our lives that God is molding us and trying to make us more like His Son Jesus Christ. We need to learn to rejoice in the hope and the confidence that God’s purpose is being accomplished in all of our lives.
We also need to know that suffering can also teach us to be more patient in life. “Let us be full of joy now! Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our suffering, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.” (Romans 5:3)
Suffering can also make us a lot more sympathetic toward others. The truth is that we really cannot be truly sympathetic toward others if we have not needed sympathy ourselves. In fact, until we have suffered, we are as Job said in the Bible “miserable comforters.” Those who can bring the greatest comfort and peace to someone who is suffering is the one who has experienced their own suffering. And the greatest sympathizer of all is Jesus Christ. This is because there is not one experience in our lives that He does not know. He has passed through all of it ahead of us.
He knows what it means to be poor. He knows what it is to be forsaken by His friends and left all alone. He knows what it means to be thirsty and weary. He knows what it’s like to have enemies revile Him. He knows what it’s like to spend may sleepless nights as He wrestled in prayer for those who did not appreciate Him.
Jesus even knows what it’s like to be tempted and at the same time be victorious over those temptations. He knows what it is like to suffer gravely as the Romans hung Him upon the cross and drove the nails through His hands and feet until He finally cried out in anguish “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
He knows what it means to go through the valley of the shadow of death in order to taste death for each man and woman of this world. He also knew what it felt like to have the curse of the “law” weigh upon His shoulders as He took upon His shoulders all the sins of the world. There is not a single thing in this world that He does not know.
Suffering also can teach us to be humble. It is pride that caused Satan to sin and fall from heaven, it was pride that caused Adam and Eve to fall and it is pride that God hates but He exalts the humble. This is one of the many reasons why God has us face trials in our lives in order for us to learn humility.
Finally, suffering can teach us to pray. Often many of us never really learn how to pray until we are found in a place where we have nothing left to do but pray. I use to be very guilty of that, only prayed when I needed help out of a bad situation.
As humans, we have a tendency to believe that as long as we can help ourselves we don’t need God and we neglect prayer. We need however to pray always and ALL ways. Prayer can be a petition, can be a recited prayer such as the Lord’s Prayer and many others and it can also be done through song or just having a personal conversation with God. No matter what form of prayer you use we must remember that prayer is not just for when we are in need, but it should also to thank God as well as to get to know Him better because it is through prayer that we begin to have a more intimate relationship with Him.
Remember, it’s OK to be broken, you need to be broken, God wants you to be broken so that He can create a beautiful piece of work just like a masterpiece hung in a museum, but His masterpiece, will be you, standing among many other souls that have joined the Father in heaven. Remember that through your brokenness, faith, and hope in Christ there is a place reserved for you at the table of our Lord. We just need to accept our brokenness and rejoice in it and give it to Him who will create a masterpiece.
When you look at your troubles alone you will go down. However, if you look at the glory that lies ahead and realize what God in love is preparing you for, you will learn to praise Him even through the storm and the tears.