Part 1 – Vision for restoration
Many times we are completely broken and when people ask “How are you?” we answer, “I’m OK!”. We can be motivated by one of two attitudes, either we want to hide our true condition or we are speaking by faith.
Have you ever wondered, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Every thinking person grapples with this question of life. And believers are no exception. All of us who know, love and trust Christ are still faced with the reality of suffering, evil, pain and injustice that is present in the world. And if we were totally honest, all of us would have to admit there have been times when:
- We could not make any sense out of the suffering we encountered.
- Our faith was shaken by the pain and problems we were facing.
- We questioned God and wondered how God could possibly let “THIS” happen to us.
There is a positive aspect to brokenness and today we will learn how to face it from a perspective of faith.
Psalm 61:2 (NKJV) From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
We can be sure that we will be broken by situations, people and even by God Himself so rather than staying broken we can acknowledge God in every situation and become stronger at every trial and every challenge.
David is in a desperate way. He will cry out to God from the ends of the earth, which indicates some form of exile or situation of isolation. When he is overwhelmed, when his heart is overwhelmed, he asks that he be led to a rock that is higher than he is. God has been a shelter for him in times past, a strong tower against the enemy (v. 3). This indicates that on the top of the rock that is higher than David there is a fortress or an advantage point from where he will be able to fight with a perspective of a sure victory.
It’s not a bad thing to be broken when Go is on our side but it’s a terrible thing to go through brokenness all alone. You don’t need to be all alone.
Brokenness can release a Beautiful Fragrance
There was a woman that was a sinner who came to Jesus with an alabaster box or vial full of very expensive perfume. She broke the box and poured the perfume on Jesus head and feet out of love for him. When she did this, the fragrance filled the room. Some of the disciples were indignant and complained about this, saying it was a waste of good perfume. They only saw the money that could have been made by selling the unbroken box of perfume, saying that the money from the sale of the perfume could have been given to the poor. Jesus responded saying that his disciples would always have the poor with them, and they could do good to the poor anytime. But they would not always have Him among them. He said that what she did was good, and she was actually anointing his body beforehand for the burial. (Mark 14:3-9)
Mark 14:9 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, wherever the good news [regarding salvation] is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
This story is a great illustration of brokenness, isn’t it? This woman literally broke a box of perfume that was worth a lot to her, so that she could bless the Lord and minister to Him. If she had not broken the jar, the lovely fragrance would not have come forth. Others could only see the value of the box while it was whole. But Jesus saw the value of it when it was broken. That’s the way our lives are, too. Many can only see how they could be valuable if they were whole, but the Lord appreciates the love and beautiful fragrance that flows from our lives when we are broken.
What we do with our brokenness will determine either a beautiful fragrance or a bitter smell of defeat.
Face brokenness with a vision for restoration
Paul said he delighted in his weaknesses, insults, hardships and difficulties. Just like David he knew that God would give him strength. Just as broken vessel Paul decided to pour a sweet fragrance from a place of brokenness.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)
7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When our lives are running smoothly and devoid of trials, we have a tendency to rely upon our own human strength – strength that cannot compare in any way to Christ’s almighty, divine strength.
“God uses weak vessels to move big stones out of the way.” 2Cor 12:9 paraphrase
However, when our life is beset with difficulties and storms, our strength fades away and we become weak. Yet in these times of personal weakness we can turn to Jesus and rely upon His divine strength, and through that strength, face and endure those storms. And when we are relying upon Christ’s almighty strength instead of upon our own inadequate strength, we are really strong.
It is imperative that we do not fall into the trap of grumbling against God during our personnal trials, nor fight or fear them. We need to keep in mind that God uses such trials to strengthen our faith and develop our character, and then thank and praise Him in, through, and even for such trials.
We need trust in Christ completely, reminding ourselves that He is sovereign and in control of all things. I remember reaching this point during my journey with depression – and how different the journey was from that point – I was able to get back out there and live an increasingly normal life while awaiting full recovery.
Restoration – Sincerity
Sincere is derived from the Latin sine = without, cera = wax. According to one popular explanation, dishonest sculptors in Rome or Greece would cover flaws in their work with wax to deceive the viewer; therefore, a sculpture “without wax” would mean honesty in its perfection. In its early days the word could refer to the immaterial and material. Likewise merchants would hide imperfections in clay vessels with wax and then cover it with varnish. The way to see if the vessel was “sin cera” was to expose it to a bright light.
Only God can restore a broken vessel.
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter;And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;” 2 Corinthians 4:7
Psalms 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
There will be times in our life where we will have to pray for a long time to get certain prayers answered. The Bible calls these type of ongoing prayers, “supplications.” The Greek word for “supplication” as in Philippians 4:6 means “petition.” I have many “petitions” with God. These are certain things that I keep praying and asked God to take care of. God may never fulfill these prayers, but I have done what I am required by God by casting my cares upon the Lord (1st Peter 5:7). Paul cautions us in Philippians 4:6 NOT to fret and worry about our problems. Rather, we are to take EVERYTHING to the Lord in prayers and supplications with thanksgiving, relying upon God to take care of the things beyond our control.
So keep in mind from now on that the problems in your life are the biggest blessings to your faith (and faith pleases God)
Eagles, like other birds of prey have incredible eyesight. To keep their vision sharp, bald eagles clean their eyes with the help of an inner eyelid called nictitating membrane. Besides protection, the membrane keeps the eye moist and clean of dust. It slides horizontally from left to right every three to four seconds. And, by being transparent, the eagle never loses sight of the prey even when the membrane is drawn across the eye. The eagle has an extra eyelid. When he closes this lid, which filters out light, he can still see, but he is not blinded by the sun. When an eagle is attacked by a flock of other birds, the eagle will close that extra lid and fly directly toward the sun. His enemies cannot continue their pursuit when the eagle turns his face toward the sun.
What a lesson for us as Christian! When the enemies of this life attack you, turn your face toward the Son and fly toward Him because your enemies cannot follow you there!
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4)