A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench – Isaiah 42:3
Mostly, when things are broken we discard them because they are of no further use and are incapable of doing what they used to do.
There are however occasions where we don’t do that, such as when things are precious or have special meaning like a broken piece of jewellery or a damaged car. Even parts of our body, like broken bones, we try to have fixed.
I am hearing about so many people during this season of continual lockdown who are exhausted. They are weary and find themselves lacking motivation because of continual uncertainty. Their hopes are raised only to be dashed again and hope deferred makes the heart sick – Proverbs 13:12.
So how can there be a purpose in the suffering?
Throughout the Bible we hear numerous stories of people who arrived at just that point: Job, Joseph, David, even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. At the point of brokenness in each story, came an acceptance of and submission to the will of God. And after all the questioning for which there was no obvious answer, not my will but thine be done, was their conclusion. They never lost their faith in God. As Job 13:15 says, though he slay me, yet will I trust him.
In each case they came to a greater place and their reward was glorious. Job came to a new understanding of God and was restored double what he lost. Joseph lost his youthful arrogance and became second in Egypt to Pharaoh. David became the greatest king of Israel and ancestor to Jesus. And Jesus is now King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and seated at the right hand of the father.
During the military’s selection process for their elite regiments, men and women are taken to breaking point and many quit. How sad for those people who don’t complete the course. No one puts themselves through such rigorous training with the intention of quitting, yet some do and no doubt regret it later.
However, those who persevere are then built back up into a superior fighting force. What was the reason for it all? It was to knock the ‘self’ out of them and teach them to follow orders instantly without debate.
It is not God’s intention to leave us broken, but through the process of breaking he can remould us into the person he always intended us to be. If that is what God is doing to his servants right now, then we can expect some precious gold to come out of the process.
A flower is crushed to release its fragrance, and its beauty can be preserved when pressed into a book.