“The Blessing of Brokenness”
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
John 12:24 (NASB)
I clenched my teeth and closed my eyes as I waited for the explosion. My favorite lamp had fallen to the floor and smashed to smithereens. Somehow, in the scattered fragments I saw a picture of my own broken life.
As I carefully collected the shattered bits, tears stung my eyes and the pain of brokenness surfaced again. It’s a deep hurt. The kind not easily healed. My heart was crushed as if it had been stomped on, broken and discarded. Unable to progress in my work or relationships, I became a hostage to my own sadness. I felt weak and desperate for hope.
No one enjoys the pain of brokenness. Normally it calls for a letting go of something near and dear to us. At the time, it doesn’t make any sense. Yet, since the broken lamp, I have learned that brokenness leads to an unexpected good.
It’s for this reason that God breaks us. Not to cause us undue pain. Not because He doesn’t love us. Instead …
God breaks us to bless us.
He chips away anything that keeps us from finding our true life in Him.
God targets an area of our life that we’re unwilling to submit to Him. Perhaps it’s an unhealthy relationship we won’t release. It could be laziness that’s stunting our spiritual growth. Or even a bad habit that’s standing in the way of experiencing the fullness of God.
Whatever the cause, our tendency is to hold tightly to these things because we believe it’s what we want. We’re convinced they please us by providing the joy, pleasure and fulfillment we seek. But God knows the truth. Only He can truly satisfy our deepest longings. All else is counterfeit to His provision.
Therefore, God selects the tools it takes to break our self-sufficiency and cause us turn to Him. When we give up our independence, we gain a new perspective of God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
A great picture of this process is found in our key verse. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
Unless the kernel is buried and dies, it will produce nothing. It will remain a lone, solitary stalk of corn. Imagine passing a field that only hosted one blade of corn.
You might ask, “Where’s the rest of this farmer’s harvest?” However, if the kernel dies, it will produce a great harvest.
Consider the life of Jesus. On earth, He was like a single stalk of corn. Yet, through His death, burial and resurrection, His life continually produces a harvest of souls.
In a similar way, as long as I live a selfish life fixed on my own wants and desires, I will produce little. On the other hand, if I die to myself and live according to God’s plan, I will yield a productive life that’s beneficial to God and others.
It sounds difficult, I know, but the unexpected good of brokenness is that it revives the life of Christ in me. I become less and He becomes more. That’s a good thing!
The more we become like Him, the more we become like the true selves God intended. The more love and patience I have in my heart, the more joyful and content I am with others.
Think of it this way. For the wheat to reproduce itself, it had to die. For Christ to reproduce Himself in others, He had to die. If I desire Christ’s life to be reproduced in me, I, too, must die to the lure of the world and my own selfishness. Then, I will experience the fullness of God I desire and reproduce disciples of the same kind. Jesus put it this way:
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25, NIV).
Sometimes God has to break me to bless me. As challenging as that can be, I’m thankful. Because honestly, I want the life God wants to give me instead of settling for the counterfeit.
God, help me die to the desires of this world and my selfishness that I might find the life You created for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 12:25, “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.” (NLT)