I bolted upright from my dorm room sleeping loft, my heart gripped with absolute terror and fear. It was about midnight and my roommate was still sleeping soundly. It wasn’t an intruder or anything life-threatening…at least not to a rational mind, but the fear I was experiencing was just as real. This was an intruder of my own making: fear and anxiety brought on by an upcoming exam in a psychology class. I would survive the exam and get through my last couple semesters of college, but the panic attacks became crippling, leading to months of long sleepless nights, anxiety, and finally depression.
Brokenness… by its very nature it causes pain, heartache, and often humiliation. It can be the consequence of our own sin or brought on by sin or circumstances around us. It is an unwelcome intruder which we try to avoid at all costs.
If brokenness is so undesirable, why then does our heavenly father seem to be irresistibly drawn to our brokenness?
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…. Is 61:1
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps 147:3
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps 34:18
He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. Prov 3:34
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 3:31-32
I am often struck by the contrast of Jesus’ response to the self-righteous Pharisees in comparison to the brokenhearted. He had no patience for Pharisaical pride…for those who had all they needed in themselves and their own good deeds. In sharp contrast, His response to the broken, sick, poor, and oppressed was love, healing, and deliverance. He seemed to be drawn to broken people like a magnet!
I believe the key to Jesus’ affection is not the brokenness itself, but our response of looking to Him for comfort, healing and deliverance. As we have often heard at Ada, we can either let brokenness harden our heart in bitterness, or we can let it soften our heart to openly receive Jesus’ comfort and healing. When our brokenness brings us to the end of our own abilities and we let it produce desperation for God, He loves to respond in drawing us to Him.
I no longer struggle much with anxiety and depression, but the brokenness of this world and my own heart still confronts me often enough. I find that it is during those times when I am dealing with brokenness, I am most mindful of my desperate need for God. If you are dealing with brokenness, either in yourself or your circumstances, let it produce in you desperation for God. Look to Him for your hope and healing and know that He is irresistibly drawn to you!
- Tom Ganzevoort