I am like a broken vessel. (Psalms 31:12 NASB)
The concept of a man being a broken vessel is hard for the human mind to comprehend. Two messages revealed by the Cross of Christ help us grasp this spiritual state. Namely, that life follows death, and that joy comes after mourning.
As recorded in Matthew 27:46b (NASB), when Jesus hung on the Cross, he cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” God the Father, because Jesus took on our sins, had to turn away from His beloved Son. Brokenness happens when spiritually we find ourselves all alone and seemingly abandoned, even by God. Brokenness is never brought about by something that we do, but what God does. No amount of self-degradation can affect this spiritual condition. No extent of pain or self-sacrifice we inflict on ourselves, can bring about a broken spirit. We would just end up being proud of our humility. Someone once said, “Humility without grace is just pride in disguise.” It reeks of the ugliness of self-righteousness. Jesus, in his humanness, was honestly overwhelmed by the broken fellowship with His Heavenly Father. If you find yourself enjoying your pain, you may not be on the path to brokenness.
So what do we do, just hang out and expect God to do it? I think there is something we can do. It called obedience. Do we run or remain where God has called us when God brings circumstances or people into our lives that test us seemingly beyond our ability to endure. Often our human abilities are overcome by life’s perplexities; a spiritual death transpires and a vessel is broken. Only then are God’s grace and strength fully released.
It is difficult for me to write on this topic as I understand how unbroken I am, but that may be how it works. You are probably not broken if you think you are. Only those who understand their need can ever achieve it. To those of you who may be in the midst of devastating circumstances and may be feeling like I have given you a bitter pill to swallow. Remember this. Spiritually speaking, life always follows death, and joy always comes after mourning.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing