Life is tough, painful at times. We are all broken in one way or another. We’ve all felt cheated, lonely, abandoned, misjudged, treated unfairly, lied to, left out and rejected. These events can be painful. If left unchecked, these challenging events can create a deep brokenness. Brokenness may manifest itself in the form of stress, depression, isolation, grief, anxiety, addiction, and even medical conditions such as heart disease.
Purpose in the Brokenness
Sometimes it can be difficult to find purpose behind the pain. However, I believe it is through this journey of our healing that our identity in Christ is developed. I chose the word developed because it is a continuous process. The moment we stop growing, we begin to die. I believe God uses our pain and brokenness to draw us closer to Him and to prepare us for those in the Faith that are coming up behind us. Although trials are difficult, there is purpose behind every challenge. God will even purpose a harvest for the self-inflicted wounds formed from our own sin.
Perspective for the Brokenness
If we always see our trial the way it is and not the way it could be, it will always be what it is. We can choose to be a victim or a victor. What if we chose to see our trials as opportunities God is giving us to grow?
When I am going through a trial, I have found it helpful to identify one of the fruits of the Spirit that God may be developing in me. For instance, when my kids will not listen to me after the third time I have asked them to clean their room, God may be teaching me patience. I can remember many times when the expenses were more than the income. God used this to strengthen my faith in Him. God can use anything to teach and grow us if we allow Him.
Then there are the more difficult trials that are deeply painful. What about the death of a loved one? Could God use this to teach me to live in total dependence on Him? There are the times when I’ve been rejected by family members and I am left with a broken heart. God is teaching me to love unconditionally, despite the way I have been treated.
This is where our understanding and our brokenness come full circle. God is giving us these teachable moments to draw us closer to Him. James 4:8 tells us that as we draw close to Him, He draws close to us. It is during this process that we grow and change. He is teaching us to become more like Him in all of life’s situations.
Moving Through the Brokenness
As we become more like Christ, we can find healing in our brokenness. Changing our perspective will help, but it will not remove the hurt and discomfort that we experience during these trials. How do we move through our brokenness and come out on the other side intact? We respond how Jesus did.
- When He was tempted by Satan, Jesus applied the Scriptures to each of His situations (Matthew 4:1-11).
- When he was persecuted, He prayed and asked God to forgive them (Luke 23:34).
- He ministered to His enemies as He chose to heal the severed ear of a soldier that came to arrest Him (Luke 22:51).
- When Jesus was hanging on the cross, instead of focusing on His pain, he chose to minister salvation to the thief that was next to Him, promising him a place in paradise (Luke 23:43).
Through His sufferings, Jesus sought the Scriptures, Prayed and found purpose by ministering to others.
Hope for the Brokenness
One final thought on our identity in healing. We must not forget that Christians are set apart in the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. We can trust that scriptures like Psalm 84:11 are true: God is our sun and shield; He bestows favor and honor and will not withhold any good thing from us. Sometimes good things hurt and bring discomfort. It is through trials and challenges that we can feel the closest to God.
Jesus’ greatest trial — His crucifixion — became our greatest hope. The hope that one day soon we will be with Him face to face and the trials of this world will be behind us. Until that day, we remain faithful to the calling that God has for us.
One of my favorite songs I like to listen to when I am going through a trial is, “What a Day That Will Be”:
There’ll be no sorrow there
No more burdens to bear
No more sickness, no pain
No more parting over there
And forever I will be
With the One who died for me
What a day, glorious day that will be.
For it is through our sufferings with Christ that our Christian identity is developed as we become more like Him through every opportunity. What fruit is God blessing you with today?
Encouraging Scriptures for those who are in Christ:
- 1 John 5:4 says that you are an overcomer!
- Philippians 4:7 says the peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus!
- Philippians 4:19 says that God will supply all your needs!
- Colossians 3:12 says that you have been chosen by God, and you are holy and beloved!
- Galatians 4:7 says that you are no longer a slave, but a child and an heir to God!
- Psalm 84:11 says God is our sun and shield; He bestows favor and honor and will not withhold any good thing from us.
- Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Step 1: Identify the trial or brokenness.
Step 2: Identify the fruit(s) of the spirit God is teaching you during this season.
Step 3: Apply the Scriptures, pray, and minister to others.
About the Author – Jill Strickland
Jill serves as the R3 Counseling Center Director at Cary Church of God. She has been married for 16 years to Gary, who serves on the worship team. They are blessed with 2 beautiful girls, Emmie and Carlie Jane. Jill graduated from Liberty University with a Masters in Licensed Professional Counseling. She is a state Licensed Professional Counselor Associate and serves as a Christian Counselor at the R3 Counseling Center as well as her own private practice.