One Sunday morning my daughter Christina and I were putting snacks out before service. I took from the refrigerator a glass pitcher that had been filled with ice and water. As I turned to hand her the pitcher it suddenly shattered and I was left holding nothing but a piece of the pitcher’s handle. Stunned we both just stood there looking at each other, incredulous to what had just happened.

Spontaneous glass breakage is a phenomenon by which toughened glass may spontaneously break without any apparent reason. There are two possible causes—a chip or nick that weakens the glass post production or an impurity that gets lodged in the glass during the manufacturing process.
Now whether this pitcher had acquired the crack during the manufacturing process, or after, doesn’t really matter, because if you have things, even nice things, and you use them…the likelihood is that one day they will get nicked, chipped, cracked, stained or broken.
In the same way, as we live out our life, we are going to get nicked, chipped, cracked and stained when we:
• face disappointments or feel let down,
• when we deal with other people, and
• when we face uncertain situations,
We are going to get hurt, and possibly even come to the point where we feel nothing but, broken.
Remember the old nursery rhyme:
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could not put Humpty together again.”
And there in a nutshell is where many are willing to let things lie. We get banged up, and our lives are in a million pieces, just like the pitcher. However, unlike the pitcher, it is not a foregone conclusion that we will be  destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT Paul wrote this;
(8) We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
(9) We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

pressed – the Greek word used here is thlibo (thlee-bo) meaning ‘to crowd’. The definition of being pressed is ‘the act or operation of applying force’; squeezing; hem in

every way – a primary word meaning any, all; every manner of or means
crushed – to compress or hem in; to make miserable
perplexed – the word used here means, ‘to have no way out’

despair – to be utterly at loss, destitute of measures or resources; to renounce all hope

Paraphrased: I may be surrounded by a variety of situations, from every area of my life, which causes me to feel as though I am being squeezed by an unbearable force, but I will not give in. I will not say ‘there is no way out’, or that I have absolutely no resources from which to draw. I will not say that there is no hope! And why?

Because there is One who had the power to raise Jesus from death to life. Who has the ability to take hearts of stone and make them into hearts of flesh. One who has the power to save mankind, offer them forgiveness of sins and promise them eternal life…the One who is our way out! 

Recently Nelson and I spoke with a young woman who was in one of the worse battles she has ever faced; a battle of life or death, for herself, and that of her unborn child.

As we sat with her, held her, cried with her and let her talk out her fears. We listened as she spoke of her weariness, expressed a sense of hopelessness; and our hearts were deeply moved. More importantly, I know the heart of the Father was moved.

We told her that while we had never been in the exact situation she was, the answer…no matter the circumstance or situation…the answer is the same. We must hold on to our faith in God. We must recognize that the battles we face are very real and they are also every bit a spiritual battle.

Remember, Satan will use any and every means possible to chip away at our faith. He will apply as much pressure as he can to cause cracks in our resolve to trust in God. So we reminded her of the resources she does have.
We reminded her that Jesus armed himself with the truth of God’s word…so we encouraged her to pick up and read her bible. We reminded her that Jesus drew away from the crowds and spent time in prayer with God, so we encouraged her to spend time in prayer. We reminded her that God places us in fellowship with other believers, and together we are to build up and encourage each other.
And oh how she needed to be built up, to be encouraged, to find strength enough to put her trust in God. She needed to believe that not only was He with her at that very moment, but that He will walk her through this situation every step of the way.

Now there might be someone reading this who is thinking, ‘she didn’t need to be told all that right then, what she needed were real answers; something tangible that she can hold on to right now.’

tangible – the quality of being perceived to the touch or sense of feeling

perceive – to know, to understand, to observe; to be affected by; to receive an impression

Based on these definitions, God is the most tangible and real thing we can have in our life.

Some time back I was speaking with another person, one who has gone through some destructive and hurtful times in their life; times that have brought them to the breaking point emotionally and spiritually. Sadly, on top of everything else they had to deal with, they also were dealing with feeling like they had been abandoned; judged by some of their family, friends, and even people of the Christian faith.

Now could I just interject one thing here? There is a saying, ‘Silence is golden’.

Well, silence may be golden for the frazzled Mom who has put up with screaming kids all day; or a teacher dealing with a class full of kids eager for summer break to begin; or after a loud concert that threatened to blow your eardrums out.

But silence is not golden to the one who has lost their way, to the frightened, the used, abused, the broken. Silence is not golden to those who question their value; who feel trampled upon, cast aside, or are hurting. These are the people who need love expressed towards them the most, not turned backs, wagging fingers, clucking tongues, or sounds of silence.

Psalms 69:20 NLT says this;
(20) Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me.

Truth be told, there are a lot of hurting and broken people who would say this sentiment best expresses how they feel. And trust me, when someone is hurting, actions really do speak louder than words, because quite often, hurting people don’t always have the ability to hear a lot of the words said to them; so keep it simple. ‘Thinking of you’; ‘I care”; or ‘I love you’, goes a long way to touching a hurting heart.

Another thing this broken-hearted one shared with me was this; they said that as they try to piece their life back together, they will be giving priority to the things that are of importance to them. I asked them if faith in God would have a place in this new life, and if so, of what importance would it be to them?

Their answer was, ‘I honestly don’t know right now. I do not know if faith in God will be one of my top priorities, or if it will have a place in my life at all. You see, I may put all the pieces back together, but signs of brokenness will always be there. The lines, the cracks…they will show…for they are now a part of who I am.’

Folks, I get it, for the time being the person was speaking out of their hurt, and right then, broken and hurt is what they saw.
So then what about us, are we willing to allow God to touch the hurting places in our lives, or have we settled for brokenness?
Coming to the Father banged up and broken is part of what this faith journey is all about. Jesus died for our brokenness. Though when we try to do the repairs ourselves, the cracks and flaws are still going to show; there will always be broken places in our lives. But when God is doing the mending, He has the ability to make everything new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB says;
(17) Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come.
One last thing you need to realize; cracks and breakage are an ongoing occurrence. As we continue to bump up against and interact with people and situations, we are going to get dinged and nicked, therefore, mending and repairs will be an ongoing occurrence. 
So come to the Father cracked, broken or confused; and as you do, know this, you can have a start over. You can come weak and with a broken spirit. However, staying broken is a choice, as is allowing God to mend those broken places in your life.
So how will you choose to live, in the Father’s strength, forgiveness and love? Or will you choose to stay right where you are? The truth and reality of all this is…you really don’t have to be broken any more…the choice is yours.

2 Responses to “BROKEN”

  1. Barb says:

    Wonderful teaching, Shannon! Thank you

  2. Guy Piche says:

    I just found a website today because I am seeking out Nelson and Shannon both of your love and support and your faith to be with my mother at this time she has been in and out of hospital and rehab for months now and it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to bring her home and I am very blessed it is kind of a hard time but I feel like I am loved I know that this is the process of the life that we live on this Earth and I feel so thankful that I’m beginning to understand how this works and I am so grateful that I’ve had and I especially my mother side you your family everyone in the church that we have been too many times I have never been to a church or around a group of folks that showed me so much love on on that I mean no judgement whatsoever never a question as to why I wasn’t there last Sunday or the Sunday before or the year before if I show up I’m always welcome your family of faithful people have truly changed my life you’ve been around many times already in the past and Mom’s been hospitalized and prayed for her and I’m seeking your prayers and and possibly your I would love to see you here and I would love you to come and pray with Mom because I really think it’s she’s close mom is 89 years old and she’s lived her life and I think she’s ready and I want her to have the piece that anybody deserves to have the Hope and Faith that when she closes her eyes for the last time here on this Earth that she can be touched and brought home to father and just sit in his castle and his kingdom amongst people as wonderful as Mary and anyone else who chooses to love God I love this broken thing that you wrote and it really makes so much sense to me I’m just reaching out to you now because mom needs all the all the love of God and faithful wonderful people like you to share show her that she is loved and let her know that that God is waiting for her and has his hand out for her so she’s not afraid I pray that you get back to me and I love you folks so much

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