Brokenness? Not something to be desired. Yet, something required.
What is the road to brokenness? Someone who is honest enough to tell you the truth about yourself. Deep, deep introspection at the mercy of a loving heavenly Father and the Word. A mistake made which reveals the nastiness of ones heart. Being face to face with such deception that the only place to turn is quiet solitude.
I have heard that when eagles molt and work at becoming stronger, they have to totally rid themselves of the things that protect them and give them their terror. They chew off their talons, smash their beaks on rocks, and pull out their flying feathers so that all can grow back stronger than ever. I wonder what that looks like for humans?
Not the most likeable topic and undoubtedly one that doesn’t get read or airplay. And certainly doesn’t get folks to want to hang out or come back to church. Yet, maybe one of the most important.
Isaiah says it twice- “The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,the Holy One, says this:“I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” (Is. 57:15) And, “My hands have made both heaven and earth;they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,who tremble at my word.” (Is. 66:2)
There is something about brokenness that Father really likes. Look at all the things listed above which our current culture of personal strength, empowerment, and manliness would say is negative: contrite, humble, crushed spirit, revived to courage, trembling at God’s word.
Brokenness is not for the faint of heart. No pun intended. Brokenness is for the prideful and callous who thinks they have it all together.
Pastor Todd Pruitt posted this quote from the effable John Newton:
Give me leave to ask pastors: What would you do if you did not find yourself occasionally poor, insufficient, and stupid?
Are you aware of what might be the possible, the probable, the almost certain consequences, if you always found your spirit enlarged, and your frames lively and comfortable?
Would you not be in great danger of being puffed up with spiritual pride?
Would you not be less sensible of your absolute dependence upon the power of Christ, and of your continual need of his blood, pardon, and intercession?
Would you not be quite at a loss to speak suitably and feelingly to the case of many gracious souls, who are groaning under those effects of a depraved nature, from which, upon that supposition, you would be exempted?
How could you speak properly upon the deceitfulness of the heart, if you did not feel the deceitfulness of your own; or adapt yourself to the changing experiences through which your hearers pass, if you yourself were always alike, or nearly so?
Or how could you speak pertinently of the inward warfare, the contrary principles of flesh and spirit fighting one against another, if your own spiritual desires were always vigorous and successful, and met with little opposition or control?
The angel who appeared to Cornelius did not preach the Gospel to him, but directed him to send for Peter: for though the glory and grace of the Saviour seems a fitter subject for an angel’s powers than for the poor stammering tongues of sinful men, yet an angel could not preach experimentally, nor describe the warfare between grace and sin from his own feelings (Acts 10:1–8).
And if we could suppose a minister as full of comforts and as free from failings as an angel, though he would be a good and happy man, I cannot conceive that he would be a good or useful preacher; for he would not know how to sympathize with the weak and afflicted of the flock, or to comfort them under their difficulties with the consolations wherewith he himself, in similar circumstances, had been comforted of God.