I’ve been avoiding writing the last few days. Avoiding my daily writing and my PhD.
Actually, that’s not really true. I’ve been avoiding God.
I thought He was done breaking me down, that it was time for some building up. I thought I was getting somewhere and it was nearing time to start some real action. But I think that was really just a breather, just a break from the breaking, so I could cope with the next round.
I don’t really blame myself for playing hooky for a day or two. This breaking down is tiring. Some days I don’t feel like I know who I am anymore.
My friend Andrew gave a sermon months ago about being broken down so God could build you up in God’s ways and purposes. He spoke of how he told his now-wife, before she could answer his marriage proposal, that he was going to be a pastor. It took twenty-something years. And he went through years and years of breaking down in between.
I thought my eight years of breaking down was already done, that it had been enough, that we were moving into a building phase. It turns out it might have just been the beginning. We have built, God and I, but I get the feeling it is only enough to help me get through the next breaking.
And yet where can I run except to my Beloved?
There is nowhere else to me anymore.
I like to think I can run, play hooky, avoid talking to God for a few days, even use pronouns for God that make me feel a bit of distance, but none of it is true. God has never left my side (my inside), and never will, no matter what I do. He is Emmanuel – God with us. Where can I go from His love? Even in the depths of my self-made hell, God is there.
Oh forgive me, Lord, for following my instinct to flee, to run away and avoid what I did not want to face, what You are asking me to face. I am willing, but I know this will not be easy or without pain. And so yet again I cause myself pain in an (futile) effort to avoid more pain. You have been teaching me to bring that pain to You, to not run from it or avoid it, but to sink my hands into it and lift it to You. To let You redeem this pain for Your kingdom, Your glory.
You don’t just want us to offer our giftings and talents for Your service, You also ask for our pain, our hurt. These, too, You can use, can bring forth Your glory through. When it comes to what we can offer You, why do we forget that You work through the broken, the foolish, the weakest? It’s not just the stories of past hurts that are now all healed over that You work through, it is the raw, gaping wounds, the blood pouring from our veins, just as it was Your pierced hands, wounded side. These wounds, this wounded Christ is present in us! We embody our crucified saviour, not just in our cleaned up and healed lives, but in our wounds, our brokenness. What better way to meet a wounded and broken humanity, than to become that wounded and broken humanity.
You bring healing and redemption, You bring wholeness and light, but Lord, if my being broken, in pain, in darkness, will further Your kingdom more than being healed, if it will bring You more glory than a story of light and wholeness, then leave me here. I will bear it for You.
I don’t know how You can use it, or use me in it, but I am willing to live this broken life for You.
I know pain is only temporary, even chronic pain is healed in death, and I have asked for that form of healing before, but God, You haven’t healed me yet, and this doesn’t mean I’ll stop asking, and You haven’t let my life give way to death (see Philippians 1:21), so I reason that there is some purpose to all of this, even if it’s just a tool to help break me down. But I am willing, Lord, because I know You will always be with me to bear me up. And though I may not be able to see Your hand at work in this brokenness, still I trust that You have control of it, that You are at work in and through it, so I will rest in You.
I surrender myself, whole and broken, to You. So break me down.