Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:8,9 NLT)
Relate: We are all broken in some way. It is tempting to look at those moments when we were broken and question where on earth God was. It is easy to say God is all-powerful and all-loving, but it is hard to see how that lines up with our pain. We wonder why he didn’t step in to stop our foolishness; why the miracle we prayed for didn’t come to pass; or why He had stood by idle while we were innocent and helpless. We may see the broken pieces of ourselves as deficiencies, as reasons we are of less value to God and others. However, they are some of the most valuable assets we possess.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Paul tells us that the thorn in his flesh was a messenger of Satan. Sometimes we forget that we have a powerful enemy, and we want to blame God for the trials we face. However, you will also notice that we have a God who is more powerful than our enemy. God tells Paul that the thorn in his side doesn’t need to be removed. Hey, Paul, my grace is sufficient. My grace is enough. God’s grace is bigger than any affliction our enemy can put in our lives. Finally, God tells Paul that the weakness, remember the one that Satan sent to torment Paul, is what allows God’s power to be made perfect in Paul’s life. Yes, that very thing that was intended to torment and afflict and bring Paul low is the very thing that God uses to make His power perfect in Paul’s life.
Paul was following the example of Christ. God became a broken man, a being that was flesh, bones, and spirit, in order to save the world. Jesus prayed three times that his cup of suffering would be removed, and then he accepted the suffering as a means to bring victory over the chains that began with man’s initial fall. The damage of man being separated from God was initiated by Satan, but God used it to show man just how far He is willing to go to be with us, even in our damaged and broken state. He could have stopped Adam and Eve from eating the fruit in the garden, and save man from the pain and suffering caused by being outside of His presence. However, God knew that His grace would be sufficient. He knew that man’s weakness would allow for His strength to be perfect. God did not turn from man in his weakness, instead, he allowed himself to become a broken man in order to overcome the death and separation of sin.
React: God will use your broken pieces. You are valuable and beautiful in his sight. He has not abandoned you. He is not blind to your hurt and broken places. He became flesh and bone, and He understands being broken, and just as my brokenness has given me the gift to cry for the pain of others, do not think for a moment that God has not grieved over the damages and the hurts of His children. I don’t mean his children in a general sense; I mean you sitting right here in this room. You are the most precious individual in His eyes, and He did not look away or hide when you were losing everything. He was there, and he was filled with righteous anger at the injustice, and He was overcome with sorrow for your brokenness. And He is not a God to be overlooked; He is not a God who forgets the damages that have been done to his children. He is a God who takes what Satan meant for evil, and He turns it around to overcome the loneliness of a broken heart. God takes the broken pieces of our lives and puts them together to create people with the power to heal. He defeats the lies that are birthed in our moments of brokenness: the lies that we deserve to be alone, that we are undesirable and without value, and that we cannot be used. Those lies are defeated when we stop praying for the sting of our pain to be removed and accept the grace we are offered. God reaches in and says, “MY GRACE is sufficient for you, for MY POWER is made perfect in weakness.” If you accept his grace and embrace the broken pieces rather than focusing on your desire for God to remove them, you will see Him do mighty and miraculous things through what the devil meant to keep you weak.
Thank you, God, for using the broken pieces of life to make something beautiful in each of us. I pray you will continually remind me to rely on you and your grace. Amen.
*This post is a slightly altered excerpt from the manuscript of my book Our Broken Hallelujahs.