In the company of strangers I sat in church in Ohio. I sat in an outside cathedral on a lawn chair under the dome of a blue sky painted with fluffy clouds… The speaker picked up two dishes from his make-shift platform and asked us which one we were. Were we the vase holding flowers, poised and beautiful? Or were we the pottery dish broken in two? Nothing could fill it, and it looked useless, and I wondered if I was that useless and broken?
He shared the story of David and Bathsheba. David, the king, went to outrageous lengths to maintain his image and cover up his sin. He killed a man. What lengths will I go to? To what lengths have I gone?
David thought he got away with it. But God saw and David suddenly broke under His judgement. “Against, thee, thee only have I sinned…” he prayed. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise…” He watched his son die, and knew it was his fault. He acknowledged that God’s way was just and his own way was wrong.
Breaking hurts. I thought of all the times I’ve felt broken and the way God has healed me. I thought about the things that still feel broken: the times I give up my own willful dreams of doing new and exciting things to keep plodding on where I’m called, the times I care for someone else’s sick baby and then let him go because he isn’t mine, the times when my pride hurts and I try to hide how insecure I feel… To break is to give up. To break is to surrender my plans. To break is to acknowledge that on my own I always fail and my furious attempts to cover up are futile. Why am I not the beautiful vase, that girl who has it all together?
But in the end the vase was just a cup with the bottom broken out. It was empty too. The flowers were resting inside in a plastic water bottle and the vase was just to look good. God can’t heal those whose only goal is to look good… If all I’m worried about is looking good, I can’t acknowledge that I am “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind.”
I guess that we’re all broken- you, me, and the girl who has it all together. Still, it’s so hard to stop concealing, stop hiding our flaws. But we need to acknowledge them and fall on the Rock that can break and heal, before the Rock grinds us to powder.
Without further ado, here is a poem I thought of today. I wrote it years ago, and I’m sure I felt broken at the time, but sometimes your own words come back to haunt you and you wonder if you wrote them as a prophecy of where you might be someday? Now I surrender things I held onto then, and now I learn that I’m in an ongoing battle of breaking and being healed. I become more battle-scarred every day.
“I am there, at the point of your breaking.”
Oh really, then where, where are you?
I’m at the point of breaking, are you here too?
“You will seek and you will find
When you search with all your heart…”
I have sought with all my heart
There is no light, there’s only dark!
“I’m at the point your will breaks,
When you give up the chase
When you start seeking Me,
And stop seeking you.
When you follow My will
You will find Me, too.”
“Let my will be broken…” I prayed in the outdoor cathedral. Because in the end, the speaker said, God takes those who are broken and mends them with gold. He makes our scars a thing of art, as they do in the East. They glimmer gold in the light of God’s love and we stand amazed at the work of His grace.