Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Gift of Brokenness

You've been given a gift.

Carefully, I sometimes say that to someone sharing that they are struggling with addiction. 

Spent time in prison? You've received a gift. Dealing with a broken relationship? Facing an illness? Gift.  

On the face of it, these things are awful. God never wants us to experience the pain of addiction, prison, broken relationships, and illness.

But we live in a broken world. A world where our single-minded pursuit of self-- a what's in it for me world-- has tragic consequences for all of us.

When we come face to face with our own brokenness, we experience our need for God and the forgiveness that comes through Jesus.

Today, it's possible to miss our fundamental brokenness and need for someone to save us. We are the wealthiest nation in the world...and if you earn more than $10 a day you are richer than 80% of the world. We can bury our inherent need for God under the trappings of our success, pleasures, food, relationships, homes and pursuits. And many of us do that very thing.

But when those things result in pain and suffering because of our selfishness or the broken world, we receive a gift.

Because no longer can we exist in the myth of our own self- sufficiency. We find we need God and it provides an opening for him to work.

God promises that "in all things (he) works for the good of those who love him." (Romans 8:28, NIV) Addiction is a gift because it shows that without God's power the addict will be unable to overcome his or her addiction. Broken relationships point to the need for the one relationship that will never break. Prison shows us that actions have consequences or that sometimes life is incredibly unfair, but that God forgives, sustains and will restore us to life. Illness ushers us into the realization that we are not in control of the days of our lives but we can trust the One who is in control and who is capable of healing.

Brokenness is the gift that allows us to experience the infinite love of God.

1 comment:

Scott E Pope said...

Well said Jim. When I first got sober almost 20 years ago I literally shook my fist at God, saying "Why do I have to be an alcoholic/ addict"? In time though I came to realize what a blessing it was to have a condition in my life that would help me see my "real" daily dependance on Him who cares! Today, I thank Him for protecting me through those years of darkness. I thank Him for allowing me to find my bottom and see how desperately I need Him in my life. I shudder to think what condition I might be in today if God, in His great love and mercy hadn't allowed me to experience my great need and then lavish Himself on me. God saved me from an ocean of dispair and placed my feet on solid ground. He protects me and leads me one day at a time... step by step. Today it's easy to say in earnest "I am a grateful alcoholic/ addict"!