“I’m broke, can’t pay my bills, no food in the house and no one is hiring...what am I supposed to do with five mouths to feed and no money coming in?” “Girl, I know how it is, I just played my last dollar on Lotto hoping to cash in on that million dollar prize for this week”, Barbara responded to her best friend Emma as they sat around contemplating about their woes living day to day wallowing in alacrity and self-pity. Standing in the doorway listening to his mom and her best friend, Ernest couldn’t help but shake his head in dismay knowing what both of them should be doing. In his youth he could remember his mom, a young mother taking him to church. But what really saddened him was the fact that Barbara had lost confidence in the church and faith in the very God she chastised him earlier to serve! “Mama, you’ve always taught us to believe in the Lord for all of our well-being and to allow faith to guide us to better horizons...yet, I’ve seen you abandon all of your faith and doing things not pleasing to God. What’s the problem, why have you stopped doing the things that can make your life expectant of God’s anointing Grace to you and the rest of the family? I don’t understand this.” Barbara looked at him and said evenly, “Son, it’s a long row to hoe and it’s hot with no comfort looking around the corner for good money to feed ya’ll and it ain’t there. I done tried that church thang and all they do there is gossip and go about like crabs in a barrel. I ain’t seen nuthin’ even close to what I knew back then that can help me outta this pickle I’m in. The Pastor is all ‘bout the money and how many skirts he can chase. Besides, I been praying all my life it seems, and ain’t nuthin’ come my way as a blessing to put money in my pockets.” “Ain’t dat the truth!”, roared Emma giving her friend a high five. “I ain’t gonna worry ‘bout a thing ‘cause I know that God will never put on us more than we can bear”, remarked Emma grinning from ear to ear. Without responding and feeling a bit chagrined, Ernest knew that they needed the Lord more and was deep in the throes of brokenness. Closing the door, he immediately dropped to his knees and prayed. He wasn’t about to abandon the God he served.
Does the above scenario ring any bells to you...have you done that and been there? Brokenness is real, and it effects all of us to certain extents because it’s a part of the wholeness that God wants us to get to and realize before He blesses us. When the chips are down, God wants humility and praise for Him where adversity and blatant disregard is prevalent and pervasive. Complete humbleness is a form of brokenness that should be part of the process where pride is stripped away, where self-sufficiency is devoid and where God’s shining light is illuminated. To prove this point God gives varied and intrusive examples to allow the truth to shine through, be it with people prominent in the Bible, giving instances where the wiles of Satan is clearly shown, and where sin or even circumstances in our lives are pronounced. I can certainly identify with both of the women's way of thinking because my mom, raising seven children in the projects wasn’t the saved woman she is today. We lived a life that could have been much more but on the way to the altar my mom heeded the call as she did that in remembrance of Him. Ironically in these difficult times the “I’m broke” refrain is all to familiar and reminiscent of every broken branch and unfulfilling niche in our existence without a reverent frame of reference. But not until we are down in the dumps do we realize how blessed we really are. How? It’s simple. In our search for spirituality God readily allows circumstances and people to fathom the need to teach us the benefits of relying totally on Him. It’s about the spiritual identity clarifying what is essential our salvation. My main attempt here is to give ideals and principles of why the need to be broken is relative to how one can put everything back together again for quality living and adhering to better faith initiatives.
Thumbing through my Bible, there’s ample material for me to draw parallels to. In Jacob's wrestle with God (Genesis 32:24-32), we should all be made aware of Jacob’s seclusion, yearning, defectiveness and false sense of honesty. I’m sure some of you have experienced what Jacob went through -- being left alone with your thoughts and lamenting about how unfair life is without a ray of hope for better times. All to often we’re not listening to God and have abandoned the need to depend on Him. Jacob, alone with God in the form of an angel learned much about the nature and impact of defeat, and in the end gained much more. Let’s take a deeper look at Jacob for a minute. Yes, he’s the one who stole his brother’s birthright. It took a broken hip and a lesson in humility for him to come around. But Jacob was a cheater and a con artist with ulterior motives who deceived his father, Isaac and done the aforementioned cowardly act to his sibling. And he ran and stayed away for years dong his thing. When you’re exposed doing wrong often we run from our acts and build walls to defend and justify our ills...we continue to scheme until brokenness strengthens the base for backsliding and apostasy. Like Jacob, God has to break us to get us to conform and reconsider our ways. The Bible says that although Jacob’s methods were not always respectable, his kill, determination, and patience have to be admired. We’re all like him in some respects...as we follow him from birth to death, his example allows us to see God’s work. When God gets ahold of us in our broken state He confirms His blessings to us and awakens a personal knowledge of ourselves for intrusive value. God dealt with Jacob on stages to get him to see the folly of his ways. Jacob the finished product became more determined, willing to work long and hard for what he wanted, became an astute man in Canaan. The lessons here are vast. Brokenness should be a period of transition, but you should know that you are still blessed. God is just biding His time waiting for us to stand up. When faced with conflict we shouldn’t rely on our own resources rather than going to God for help. As Jacob grew close to God and turned a spiritual corner, his life changed and realized that he needed to grab onto the Lord and be blessed anew, and that all of his intentions and actions -- for good or evil-- are woven by God into an ongoing plan.
When we reach a broken state and become desperate to receive God’s blessing (like Jacob), it will be not only available to us but needed! But then again, brokenness is not only relegated to Jacob. There are others where the the need to be rectified is prevalent. David seducing Bathsheba gave way to his lamentations in Psalms 32 and 51, profound declarations of being broken and disillusioned. When we’re full of ourselves it aids and abets brokenness. God used Moses' disobedience and sin when given a directive to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. He went on his own ahead of God and subsequently slew and Egyptian in his anger. What did he do? Yep! He ran. Just like Jacob did. He ran and spent 40 long agonizing years in the desert learning what he could not do on his own! David ran too, but eventually learned that killing Saul wasn’t the answer to his repentant need. Tony Evans in his book, ‘Free At Last: Experiencing True Freedom Through Your Identity in Christ’, says it best about Moses’ plight: “Moses moved from self-sufficiency to insufficiency so that God could become his sufficiency.” WOW! What a statement, and how poignant. Paul didn’t experience success and a powerful nature until he saw and learned how suffering was part of the process. The thorn Paul was afflicted with was real and all the grace he needed to see clearly and react. The fact that God refused to remove it is a testament to his power in Paul in how to be delivered from a broken state. See 2 Corinthians 12:10 for his validation and why he went from praying for deliverance to thanking God for the thorn. Peter and his denial of Jesus is another example of how He uses sin for the sake of brokenness. Peter was an arrogant fool who needed to be placed in a setting to be an example to be broken and evolve to the leader that God wanted him to be. Peter fell so low that God allowed him to be humiliated where he had no choice but to go back to fishing to become whole again. He not only denied Jesus three times, but Jesus being who He was, met him on common ground and forgave him the same amount of time Peter forsook Him before he was ready to be the latter Peter of subsequent notoriety (John 2`:15-17). Again, it’s the circumstances that He put before us to learn lessons for completeness.
I’m not exempt from any of this. I can honestly say that I’m in a state of brokenness even as you read this. I claim no victories without first having to learn that security does not lie in the accumulation of goods and that after I wrestle in my own way with angels, and face loneliness and hunger, that I can become honest with myself and do God’s work. It wasn’t always easy. I’m Iearning the hard way and leaning in the right direction. I said that if He would allow me to look up I will get up and keep my head to the sky. I’m learning now that it so hard to achieve anything of significance in life without first humbling myself before Him. But in accepting this truth, and allowing myself to become broken I can gain the opportunity to be blessed. Broken and bruised, but blessed is my motto and I’m using it to get out of the mire of mediocrity for magnificence. Know that if there’s questions that will be asked of you about (your) brokenness they invariably will center around the policies and procedures governing self-sufficiency and how you’re dealing with the circumstances that they bring. We’re all afflicted and affected by resistance and reluctance that tend to prevent Christian resolve from shining through in it’s fullness. In closing, God is always looking for chances for us to validate our choices to step our of our maladies. We must not allow trials and tribulations to have mindsets like Barbara and Emma. We will want to seek alternative pathways for effectiveness and rely on God by admitting our weaknesses to affirm His strength. For myself and my family, I’m striving to turn it all around. God certainly is not finished with me. I want my identity in Christ to reveal itself and for me to find the power I never had before. I will ask you to dig deep within yourselves as well. Are you prone to be like the young Jacob and an all too-grown Moses forcing God to track you down in the desert of your own plans and misguided intentions? Are you like the older Jacob; a repentant David; or possessing the perseverance of Paul placing desires before God for approval before taking action? The fullness of Christ is knowing what brokenness is, how to deal with it knowing that God is at His strongest in us when we are at our weakest point. We’re all at some point or another broken and battered, but blessed, are you ready to challenge change?