Cleaning up after dinner, I carefully hand wash my favorite platter in Ivory suds. Years ago, I found this creamy, ceramic oval embossed with fruits and vines. This platter has been on every Christmas buffet in our home for more years than I can remember.
After the final rinse, I place the platter on end, leaning against the dish strainer, too large to fit inside. I continue to wash dishes.
Suddenly, I see the platter roll toward the edge of the counter. I lunge sideways, trying to stop the coming crash. Too late.
My favorite platter rolls off the countertop, collides with oak floor, and breaks apart into pieces large and small. The crash reverberates through the first floor and kids come running. Without asking, our two oldest begin picking up pieces. Me? I say, “Don’t cut yourselves” and scramble to find my camera.
Oldest—daughter—on her knees—looks up and smiles.
“You’re going to write a blog piece about this, aren’t you?”
I smile back from behind close-up lens. “I have an idea!” I reply.
“I know what you’re going to write about!” daughter tells me. “You’re going to write about being broken—how we have to be broken for God.”
“I thought you would be mad or sad because your favorite platter just broke, but you’re excited.”
“Well,” I say, “That’s what happens when you look for God to teach you something in everything. Suddenly, everything takes on a whole new meaning and it can be very exciting.”
So the two oldest kids and I start discussing brokenness—being broken—as we pick up and sweep what was once whole, now shattered. They both get that Jesus was broken for us. But what does it mean to be broken for Jesus? What needs to be broken?
Self-rule. Self-reliance. Self-pride. These three come to mind as far as I am concerned. Though I love God and know in my head that His ways are higher than mine, that His ways are better than mine, my Self is a warrior. My pride wants ME to survive, no matter what, fighting for my own way and what I think are my own rights. My pride protects ME and what I want, despite what God thinks, how God feels. My pride, and her sisters Self-rule and Self-reliance, form a tightly braided cord impossible to break except by crucifixion and resurrection of the one and only Son of God, perfect Man. Jesus broke the power of everything that broke our wholeness and separated us from holiness—perfect relationship with the perfect, eternal lover of our souls. We were made for this–perfectly whole relationship with our creator God.
But I cling to platters in my heart that I won’t let drop and break until God, who knows my dilemma, intervenes. He knows I desire Him, His way. He also knows I desire ME, my way. I am conflicted and peace eludes such conflicted, opposite-pulling souls.
To give us something better than Self, Jesus allows platters to fall. He allows life to crash and break to pieces. But breaking leads to freedom. Freedom from trying so hard to hold myself together—to appear as though I’m something I’m not. There is great freedom in humility once Pride’s tight grasp is loosened and broken by Love.
My life has not been easy and I’ve seen and heard and held great suffering in others. I have known brokenness and heartache, many rounds. Who hasn’t? But though I have been knocked down many times, I have never been knocked out. Jesus has always been in my corner, encouraging me with His words, catching me when I stagger, picking me up when I fall, tenderly treating my cuts when I bleed. He knows I’m made from dust. And He loves me. He loves all of us. If only we would trade broken Self for Love—True Love—His Love.
It seems crazy that I would resist such a trade offer, but I do. Thankfully, the more I come to know God, to really KNOW Him—to walk with Him and talk with and listen to Him—the more I WANT to be broken, because Jesus doesn’t just sweep up platter shards and glue them back together. He takes all our brokenness and gives us unbroken, brand new, WHOLE selves where every soul hole is filled. No more emptiness. No more fears. No more longing for what we can’t quite name.
Yes, being broken brings pain, but temporary—like birthing a child. Once new life is delivered, pain is mystically lessened, even forgotten. Overwhelming Love encompasses all. Brokenness births blessing. We CAN be born again.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17