“Hospital emergency! Hospital emergency!” My 10-year old was running through the house yelling and found me in the kitchen. The smile on his face told me that it wasn’t really a hospital emergency, so that was a relief. He raced in and set a broken piggy bank on the counter for me to fix. He ran out with the same smile on his face. He didn’t tell me what happened, and for whatever reason, I didn’t ask or really care. It was only a piggy bank, after all. We both knew I could fix it.
Brokenness seemed to be a theme last year in our house. We repaired or replaced all of the following in 2017: Refrigerator, house air conditioner motor (twice!), sprinkler system, son’s tablet (twice!), garage door, garage door opener, on my truck – brakes, air conditioner, alternator, battery, on my husband’s car – fuel tank, headlight, and bumper. And, of course, the piggy bank.
The good news? They are just things. Every one of them can be replaced.
The bad news? We’ve had other years marked with broken relationships or broken bodies. You’ve had them too. Health and happiness are not so easily replaced or fixed.
I didn’t think of it until days later, but my son rushing in with the piggy bank reminded me how we are to react to our own brokenness. Bring it to Jesus. He’ll fix it.
King David does this in one of his most famous Psalms:
“Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” Psalm 51:8
David is talking to God here, so listen to that line again, “…let the bones YOU have broken rejoice…”. God did the ‘breaking’ – it is the word dakah which means ‘to crush’. The prophet Nathan had just confronted David about his sins of adultery and murder. David is crushed. His pride has been totally stripped. Later in the psalm, David writes:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
God doesn’t break us to be mean, he breaks us so we can know the beauty of His healing, His forgiveness, His compassion. It is necessary for us to realize our own weakness and trust in God’s power. It creates an outpouring. There’s just one problem with brokenness: it hurts. And it’s usually really inconvenient. Not that there’s a good time to be broken, but we are usually never quite prepared for it.
As a side note, the piggy bank did not glue back together correctly, so the last piece wouldn’t fit. It wasn’t going to hold any coins. Bummer, right? But my son quickly found a new container for his money. His brother, who had an identical piggy bank, decided to find a new spot for his money, too. Then he flipped his piggy bank upside down and made it into a pencil holder. This, too, hit me in my spiritual gut. Sometimes God does not fix things for us. He waits to see our response. And sometimes He flips our lives upside down to make something new. A new story. A new creation.
What will we do with the broken pieces of our lives? Our broken hearts? Our broken spirits? Following the narrative of Psalm 51, we can model David’s heart transformation.
Plead for mercy, forgiveness, purity, opportunity, and deliverance. God will answer with restoration, cleansing, instruction, and joy. In the end, He will be praised. And that is always a glorious ending. And a glorious way to begin 2018.