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Whether you feel like you’re too broken for God because of something beyond your control, or a mistake you made that you can’t get away from, the truth is that He’s looking for you. He wants you. He loves you.
This message was delivered at a church service recently by a friend.
I know there are some canners out there who could probably use some extra jars.
I have this Mason jar here, perfectly fine. Any takers?
I have another one…It was just like that one until about an hour ago. But it had an accident. Instead of being in one piece it’s in several.
Anyone? Aside from that one mishap, I’ve taken good care of this jar. No takers?
It’s worthless now, isn’t it?
It’s funny how the value of something can change in an instant.
In the case of these two vessels there isn’t much difference. They’re the same size, same type, made of the same stuff.
But where one has value, one is now totally worthless because its value was in its ability to perform a function which it can no longer accomplish. When it comes to glass there is very little forgiveness.
Do you ever feel like that jar…like you’re broken beyond repair, beyond use, good for nothing?
Maybe you were once a useful jar, but age caught up with you and the cracks are starting to show. (I feel that way every morning.)
Perhaps you’ve been afflicted with something beyond your control.
Maybe it wasn’t something that happened to you, but something you did to yourself. A mistake you made that you just can’t get away from.
It could just be me, but it seems like today’s world isn’t making things much better.
One of the downsides of all of this great technology is that many of our mistakes are never forgotten.
And in today’s graceless society, if you disagree with someone, there is no time limit on destroying that person’s life because of a past transgression, whether it happened last week or last century.
So let me ask again. How about you? Broken? Totally whole?
Thankfully, for those of us that are broken, we’ve been blessed with a whole Book filled with broken people who can inspire us.
One of my favorites is King David.
King David, you say? Slayer of Goliath? Conqueror of Jerusalem? Uniter of Israel? “A man after Gods own heart?” and the beginning of the eternal dynasty? He’s not broken.
You want to talk about useful, purposeful…whole people, let’s start with David.
Surely, I must be wrong.
We’re going to begin in Psalm 34.
This Psalm was written in response to the events of 1 Samuel 21, probably one of the worst times in David’s life.
For the sake of time I will quickly summarize:
- Saul wants to kill David.
- David, fearing for his life, seeks refuge with his enemies, the Philistines.
- Not the wisest decision ever.
Maybe he thought they wouldn’t recognize him, but guess what:
But the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” David took these words to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath. So he disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard. 1 Samuel 21:11-13
Can you imagine that viral video? Here is your king, Israel! Acting like a lunatic. Drooling all over himself.
How humiliating for David. To go from being a hero to being so low that not even his enemies cared if he lived or died.
How did he respond?
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1
He praised the Lord.
How many of you do that when you’ve been broken? I can’t say that’s my first response.
This whole Psalm is great, but we’re going to skip ahead to verses 18 and 19
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
In short ==> Turn to God, he is always there.
Okay, we turn to God when things get tough. But what about sin?
What do we do when our brokenness is a result of a wrong we committed?
Thankfully, we have the example of David again, this time with the events surrounding Bathsheba.
The reason I’ve chosen two examples from David’s life is to illustrate the fact that sometimes things in life happen to us beyond our control, and sometimes they’re the results of choices we’ve made.
In the case of Bathsheba, David made a string of poor choices which snowballed into tragedy. Not only that, but there were severe consequences, imposed by God, which included adversity from his own house, wives taken away, public humiliation and the death of his own child.
And how did David respond?
Be gracious to me, o God, according to your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2
David goes to God, he admits his sin, and asks for forgiveness.
He goes on, in verses 15 through 17. To say
O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare your praise. For you do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Sounds like the words of someone who knows he is broken, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing…We’re all broken too, just like David.
I have some other pieces of glass I’d like to show you.
You want to hear something absurd?
Last summer my family drove two thousand miles away for vacation. And you know what we ended up doing the majority of the time? We walked around beaches looking for broken pieces of glass.
Of course, when you find it on a beach it’s called sea glass, but let’s be honest, it’s someone else’s garbage.
So what is the difference between a broken jar and a piece of sea glass?
One I can’t wait to get rid of, and one I felt compelled to pick up and rescue.
Why? It serves me no purpose, it doesn’t do anything for me, but still I did it. Many times in fact.
And you know what, we’re all like this sea glass.
We’re all broken.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
Not just one or two of us, all of us.
Another way we are like this sea glass is this:
No matter how useful we think we are in accomplishing God’s will, he needs us as much as I need this sea glass.
Don’t misunderstand me, God may use us to accomplish his will, as he used David.
But the God who created everything in seven days doesn’t need me or King David for anything. And when he does use us to accomplish his will, it is to His glory, and not our own.
Does that depress you? It shouldn’t when you think about it.
If God doesn’t need us for anything, then why does he stick around? Why does he forgive our sins, show us such immense kindness and promise us great things?
He does those things out of love.
We are also like this glass in our universal need for a savior. The difference between the broken Mason jar and the sea glass is that the sea glass has been picked up and saved.
God provided us a savior in Jesus.
We have been picked up. We have been saved.
Jesus, by the way, was like that unbroken jar there, and in his sacrifice we have hope of being made whole too.
But here’s the thing…
In order to be saved we have to be willing to be seen in our brokenness.
Do you know how many pieces of glass we didn’t collect because we couldn’t see them? How many were hiding under the rocks or right beneath our feet buried in the sand? Just like this rescued sea glass, we need to bare ourselves in full acknowledgement of our brokenness and need for redemption.
David had no problem with baring himself fully to God. And when we find ourselves in a similar state we would do well to follow his lead by going to God.
When life gets you down, go to God. When you mess up, admit you’re wrong and go to God.
You simply cannot be too broken for Him.
He’ll always be there to pick us up, to wipe us clean and rescue us.
If you want to read more on brokenness, head over to my friend Jerusha’s Fear Warrior Blog where I wrote a guest post on the topic. It begins, “Are you afraid you’re too broken for God’s promises to apply to you?” and it’s an invitation into some private moments that I’ve not previously shared in which God spoke truth to my broken self.