It’s our brokenness that drives us into Christ’s arms. Without an awareness of how broken we are, we wouldn’t think we needed Him, and we would be lost, without the constant comfort of His friendship and His promise of heaven. Therefore, in this season of Thanksgiving and Advent, I thank Him for my brokenness.
Our joint human brokenness was Christ’s reason for coming to redeem us, His promise being made a mere three chapters into our human story. This fellowship of His suffering with us in our humanity, coupled with His promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose, gives us yet more reasons to thank Him for our brokenness.
Because of our deep need for Him, He came. But there is a dilemma. As God works in our brokenness, all sorts of refining and reshaping must occur. As C. S. Lewis said of his wife Joy’s cancer, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us. We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be” (Letters of C. S. Lewis [Harcourt, 1966], 477).
My best growth seems to be accomplished through suffering. I wish this wasn’t true, but this seems to be the human condition. We must learn our lessons the hard way, or they remain unlearned. I cannot grow to rely on Christ more thoroughly unless He puts me in the position where I cannot rely on myself. He is faithful, and so He invariably does.
This year has seen my health decline. From July to November I was worse than I’ve ever been, but simultaneously Jesus demonstrated how near He is and how much He loves me. My brokenness proved essential for this lesson. I’m going further up and further in.
I’ve been studying Revelation for a while, the most uplifting Bible study of all! The more trials I face, the more I long for Christ’s return and the more I release into God’s hands. Examining God’s intentionality to fulfill His every promise through Christ’s return fills me with anticipation and thankfulness.
“Paul captured the eternal remedy to evil and suffering in Romans 8:18: ‘I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.’…In The Problem of Pain, Lewis says that ‘a book on suffering which says nothing of heaven, is leaving out almost the whole of one side of the account. Scripture and tradition habitually put the joys of heaven into the scale against the sufferings of earth, and no solution of the problem of pain which does not do so can be called a Christian one‘ (The Problem of Pain, 144).” (This paragraph is part of Randy Alcorn’s message: C.S. Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil and Suffering. Plenary 5 — 2013 National Conference.)
Because we are broken, we suffer now. But we are promised heaven by the God of the universe who never breaks His Word and Who cannot tell a lie. This more than compensates! The consolation of Christ and of heaven far outweigh our brokenness and our momentary light affliction, no matter how long it torments or how severe. I anticipate and long for the day when Christ returns or I go to be with him.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21 NIV).
As we turn the corner from Thanksgiving to Advent, let’s fix our minds on the blessed fact that Jesus put on human flesh to come and suffer for us. One day, because of Him, the suffering will be over. We will be whole. For this, we are thankful.
That reminds me of a wonderful lyric from singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, who died recently: “So ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything — that’s how the light gets in.”
I’ve been thinking of him often, since he passed. Thanks for sharing that, Darrell!