The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broke places. ~ Ernest Hemingway
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
I have so many chips and cracks in my soul it is amazing that the Lord has any use for me at all. On more than one occasion I feel as if I am the smartest person in the room. I imagine that I am the best speaker or teacher at a conference. I avoid telling the truth to some folks because I want them to like me. I tell the unvarnished and brutal truth to others because I don’t want them to like me. There is something broken inside of me.
A friend is successful in his career and I feel something like pig poop lodge in my stomach. I want what he has. There is something broken inside of me. I get my feelings hurt when I am undervalued and overlooked. My eye glints and my head turns after forbidden things. There is something broken inside of me.
Was there anyone more broken that Simon Peter? You and I may have done a lot of dumb things, but we did not promise to fight to the death for Jesus one day and curse and deny we even knew him the next—three times, no less! And yet Jesus comes to him on the quiet shores of Galilee and says,
“Simon, do you love Me?”
What Jesus says is remarkable. What he doesn’t say is even more remarkable.
He doesn’t say: “Some friend you turned out to be…I’m really disappointed in you…You let me down…You’re all talk…Coward…Boy, was I ever wrong about you…And you call yourself a disciple?”
Instead, he asks simply, “Do you love me?”
He asks three times, once for each denial. Not to rub it in, but to give Peter an opportunity to openly confess his love. Something Peter desperately needs to verbalize. By the third time Jesus asks him, Peter connects the dots, and a flame leaps from that smoldering memory. And it burns.
But Jesus is not there to inflict pain; he is there to relieve it. Jesus had seen his bitter tears when the rooster crowed. That was all he needed to see. That was repentance enough. Peter looks up, longing for the faintest glimmer of forgiveness. And by the smile in His eyes and the tone of His voice Peter knows…all is forgiven.
“Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”
This was Jesus way of saying, “I still believe in you…I think you’re the right man for the job.” Feed my sheep. With those words the mending of brokenness had begun. A wounded heart was restored.
Let me ask you a question from the lips of our Lord to your heart…
Do you love Jesus?
Receive the restoration of the Lord.
The ministry of restoration has been around a long time.
Without restoration, Moses would have been a shepherd the rest of his life. Without restoration, Elijah would still be pouting under a broom tree. David would never have written some of his best Psalms. Jonah would have been fish poop on the bottom of the Sea. Without restoration, John Mark would have never written one of our Gospels. And Peter would have finished his days fishing—for fish.
The ministry of restoration is why we are still here in this earth.
Where are you broken?
In his book “Lord, Break Me”, William MacDonald points out that in the physical world, broken things lose their value. They are thrown away – glassware, dishes, and furniture. Flaws are fatal. But in the upside down kingdom of Jesus, the reverse is true. Broken things are precious. People reveal the beauty and power of God in their brokenness. Flaws are openings.
Have you heard of KINTSUGI? It’s a ceramic restoration process developed in Japan in the 1500’s. Broken ceramic pieces are sealed together, but instead of hiding the cracks, they are boldly highlighted and traced over with gold.
There is something broken inside of me. But it is at that broke place that I feel the gentle touch of the Master’s hand as he molds me and makes me into a vessel of value to Him, if no one else.
Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot. Jeremiah 18:3-4 (MSG)
I’m broken alright, broken in all the right places. Because those cracks in my soul are opennings to let grace escape.