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The Benefits of Brokenness

“Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.”

Charles Stanley

In February we flew to Arizona to celebrate my sister’s seventieth birthday. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the trip, I experienced excruciating back pain, preventing us from attending the birthday celebrations and seeing extended family. I was so miserable we cut our trip short.

I discovered that pain takes away all my props, getting me down to who I really am when I cannot hide behind any comfort. The real me inside floated to the top as waste material rises during a refining process. The physical suffering and emotional pain from my loss set me up to see the benefits of brokenness from God’s perspective.

The beauty of brokenness lies in how it forces you to depend upon others and God. I depended upon my sweet husband, sister, and brother-in-law to help me do what I could not do because of the pain. They prayed, encouraged, and helped me find comfort in practical ways.

Suffering has a way of stripping away our independence and pride and causing us to humble ourselves and seek God for relief through prayer. Pain removes the comfort of a chair and drops us to the floor sitting in all our rawness and realness. In brokenness, the masks we are wearing to look good are stripped away and there is no performance to hide behind. Our neediness can be a good thing. In the middle of the night when I could not sleep, God was there for me.

Another benefit of brokenness is how it primes us to become vulnerable to others. Vulnerability is an entry point to the transformation of our hearts. For something to be made new again, it must first be broken. Being honest and vulnerable and opening the door to our hearts increases the likelihood of intimacy in relationships.

Physical pain and suffering, isolation, and emotional loss all compounded to make the perfect storm, yet through the perspective of a loving Father, set the stage for my transformation. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

“It is in the confession of our brokenness that the real strength of new and everlasting life can be affirmed and made visible.”

Henri Nouwen

Relevant Reflections:

1. Describe a time when you experienced brokenness from physical or emotional pain.

2. What benefits did you discover through brokenness?

Image by Kevin McIver from Pixabay

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