A priceless perfume falls to the floor, scattered in brokenness. It had been a wedding gift to be poured out upon her new husband’s feet. It’s her very own dowry. Her statement of complete love and devotion. In disbelief she was criticized. Her actions or inflictions are not revealed to us, but they knew them. They knew what she had been doing. They knew her story. No matter it was she had reach point; brokenness. Whatever the burdens, whatever the pains and hurts were, she couldn’t carry them anymore. She faced two choices: stay wasted or find restoration. Walking into that room was like walking into a den of vipers. But it’s there she finds that her brokenness is necessarily painful; that it was His gift. When facing our personal brokenness, any hope of restoration often eludes us. It seems safer to accept the loss — unaware of God’s hand in brokenness.
Before you’re broken you find yourself amidst another attack. It’s odd to refer to it as “finding” yourself since it seems you can never hide from the pain. It always finds you as some stalker tormenting you, following you everywhere you; jumping out of every corner making its presence known.
Sometimes you wonder what it would be like to have no attacks….depression, abuse, your past, addictions, eating disorders, you name it, and you fill in the blanks. To be able to do the things you need to do. “Would I get the things done I need to?” “Would I get better grades?” “Would I be more pleasant to be around?” “Would others tolerate me more?” No darkness! You’ve felt like you’ve had this pain hurt so long.
Life has become like a storm. The pain arrives suddenly, like lightening or slowly, the thunder from afar off building its intensity. You close your eyes seeking darkness and hoping for it. Your world becomes very small now all within you head; especially when it secludes you to your bed.
It’s not fair. It’s not right. As the storms continue to rage, attacking your entire being waves of nausea flood over you bringing more misery. A beautiful vision if only its purpose were naught. For this is an aura, the harbinger of things to come. And not a light show the mind ever sought. The earth needs the sun to survive. You put on sunglasses to hide. Pull down the shades to keep out the light. Sometimes even hear a symphony in the mind, but can’t turn the volume down.
Sick of being sick. Tired of bailing out on activities or responsibilities. With so much terrible pain you’d think it would damage the brain. Sometimes not minding if it did. The pain is bad enough. You miss a meal, sleep too late, or not all. Sleep; wouldn’t that be nice? It’s becomes the strongest fear. Too much brings on more pain. Six hours at the most for me. If lucky, that much. Insomnia is a preferred way of life. Maybe it’s too much. Not ever getting enough.
You cry out, “Stop this now before I quite. I don’t need you or want you. I never did. You just linger on and on until you loosen your wound up leash only to release chaos. And you always come back. Why do you come back? Why do you rob me of so much? I’ve warned you so many times. This is not a joke and I’ve never laughed once. The only emotion you cause me is sadness with tears. Why are so painful with seemingly no end? Do I deserve this unreasonable punishment? Does this make me a bad person? Look, I’m tired of being put in the corner to standout from the crowd. They all look at me and don’t understand. Well I don’t understand. Why do you pick on me? Just stop doing this. No one wants this treatment. Think of the damage you cause me. It is my fault I’m just trying to live my life?”
No matter our afflictions we have one of two choices to choose if we have allowed ourselves to reach that point of brokenness. Brokenness is a choice. Some refuse it only to remain in years of misery. For some, God is breaking; they do not recognize it as being from Him. They are devoid of light, seeing only man opposing them. Life, their environment is just too difficult. Circumstances are to blame. It’s always someone’s or something else’s fault. So they remain in darkness and despair. Or we become absorbed with self-love, motivating ourselves thinking we can deliver ourselves. We believe the all too common promises of, “I can beat this.” “I can stop drinking on my own.” There’s even those self-denial beliefs and statements, “It’s not that bad.”
Only after going through an experience of our own brokenness it’s then our life can be offered as a blessing for others. For who are much capable to speak of hope if not those who have undergone the deepest of despair? Who can speak of unspeakable joy, if not that those who have undergone the deepest sorrow? Who can value the preciousness of health if not those who have tasted the bitterness of death?
Wondering through pain and death and pain and new life…holding on, marveling when somehow the days come out all right. That’s where faith lives. It’s where it has to live, because so much in our world and in our lives doesn’t come out right. Or, at least it doesn’t come out the way we’d wish it would at the time, or the way we’d hoped it would. It would be so much better if God would just take care of our demons once and for all, wash us clean, wash our world clean in one fell powerful swoop and be done with it! Or, so we are tempted to believe. I mean would’ve it been easier or even right had God just snapped his fingers and my drinking problem be done with years ago? Or my eating disorder had never reached a critical point to where it became so engrained in me? Or He held me back from all those bad choices I had made in the past during my different bipolar episodes? Or He gives me strength in the times I have trouble with my Parkinson’s? Better yet, what if He had kept me from developing any of these things in the first place? Perhaps we assign too much importance on questions, that in the end, be of no consequence. I’ve never been fond of “what if” questions.
Would I be better off today had I not faced those sufferings? Would I not be standing here now? Would I not know the things I know now had I not gone through it all? No I don’t believe God put it on me. But He knows what one needs and how to use what is in one’s life.
Certainly seeing all those images of the suffering and devastation in this world can lead us to say, “Where is God?” (However, in my opinion that’s a matter of opinion due to a blind eye or perception. All of Gods resources are here in our hands on this earth given to us as our responsibility. We just blame God for not doing anything about the problems while we waste his blessings. ( But that’s for another day, another time.) What happens when we’re drowned in human brokenness?! What happens when grief overwhelms us, or when bad things happen that we just cannot explain or understand? What happens when the voices in our head, or in our past, drowns out everything else, saying: “If you want to be loved, you had better prove that you’re worth loving!” Sometimes, God doesn’t seem present. There’s room for protest from us. Like John the Baptist, we are tempted to think that things would just be so much better if God just acted like the All-Powerful, and set things “right” once and for all! Even John the Baptist himself, reached a point of brokenness, who later when he was in prison sent his disciples to Jesus because he was confused as to whether Jesus was the Messiah or not.
God’s way in Jesus would be the way of identification with the brokenness of human life. And so, the work of God in Jesus would remain an open question. In a world like ours, do we choose to believe that Jesus reveals a God present in brokenness, or not? Because, there’s plenty of room for protest, and we do protest still, when God seems absent or impotent. Before we reach that point of brokenness how many times do many of us question if God is even there? He seems silent and absent. There is no one more beautiful than one who is broken! Stubbornness and self-love give way to beauty in one who has been broken by God.