There has been a subtle, but notable change in the tone of the teaching that has emerged in the church today. A bevy of hip young motivational preachers today strut back and forth across digitally enhanced platforms today, nattily dressed in their torn jeans and t-shirts declaring that Jesus came to make us whole.
“You’ve been abused, betrayed, forsaken, mocked, and accused. The enemy has tried to destroy you and you walk around like broken shards of glass in a paper bag. God loves you and wants to hold you in His lap like a daddy and make it all better.”
Wholeness is the buzzword of the day. Jesus wants to make you whole again. He’ll take away all the pain, soothe all our wounds, and make us happy. It's a great message, it's an encouraging message, a hopeful message, it's a live your best life now message, but it is a weak message. The weakness of this message isn’t that it's not a true message, but that it is an incomplete message. This dynamic and encouraging message leaves out an important reality of our spiritual life.
Vance Havner says, “God uses broken things: broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength, and broken people to do great things.”
A crushed grape produces a sweet wine and when the petal of the rose is crushed it yields an intoxicating aroma. Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane crushed and broken beneath the weight of the task that lay before Him. The writer of the Book of Hebrews makes
a stunning declaration that we should “look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the shame of the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2)
When Saul of Tarsus was converted on the road to Damascus, the Lord said, “For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” (Acts 9:16)
Brokenness is one thing we all have in common, and we all have in common with Jesus. Jesus warned that in this world we would have tribulation but that we should not be discouraged by our trouble, because He has overcome the world. Many of us strive to avoid the adversity that brings brokenness into our lives. We avoid pain, shy away from difficulties, feeling that somehow God has abandoned us in our time of trouble. We don’t understand that brokenness can be our greatest teacher, and it’s only in our struggles that we become stronger. Ease makes us weaker, not stronger and our brokenness allows us to see and share the pain of those around us.
The whole of the scriptures teaches us nothing if we do not learn from it that God uses broken people.