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  • Writer's picturePhil Rains


“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Good advice if you’re dealing with something that’s working properly. But it seems as if we are living in a broken world, surrounded by broken things. Broken nations, broken economies, broken societies and cultures, broken marriages and families, broken people and lives. The really sad thing is that this brokenness is accompanied by a sense of hopelessness. We’re broken, but don’t know it. We just feel that something’s not right. We don’t know what it is, and we for sure, don’t know how to fix it. So we just limp on. We are a broken world in need of fixing. But there is only one Fixer that has the power to make it right, and He has been totally written out of the script. So here we are, broken and unable to find a place of repair, of wholeness.

My concern is not so much for nations, or economies, or cultures; that’s generational brokenness that won’t be fixed until Christ establishes His Kingdom. But my concern is for the everyday, common person who is just trying their best to live life as it was intended to be lived. Those who are struggling each day to meet all the challenges, and difficulties, and sometimes the impossibilities of day to day life. Those who feel that they are not equipped to handle such rigors of life. Some battle depression, some addiction, some sicknesses or disabilities of different kinds. Some become distant, others withdraw, and some totally check out. People who have lost their way, their hope, their faith. These are the ones that I want to see repaired, restored.

We tend to define broken on the basis of what we see on the surface. The greater the struggle, the greater the depth and scope of their brokenness. I’m not so sure that that is an accurate barometer in judging the degree of someone’s condition. Through the years, as a pastor, I encountered a lot of people who lived horrible lifestyles, who did some horrible things. You might look at some of them and say “what a hopeless individual.” Yet I watched as God, quickly and easily moved into their lives and transformed them, fixed them, as they submitted to Him. On the other hand, I’ve seen those who “had it all together “, who looked and sounded all the right ways, yet were so deeply broken, wounded. Some of those I never saw repaired.

I guess there are degrees of brokenness. Some things seem to be more broken than others. But just how do we judge that? And who judges that? In the final analysis, anything that does not measure up to the purpose for which it was created, is, to some degree or another, broken. Whether it’s a toy, or a car, or a process, or a life; if it’s not fulfilling it’s purpose, it’s broken, and needs fixing.

There are those whose lives are just slightly out of balance and need a little bit of adjusting. And then there are those whose lives have been completely shattered and need to be rebuilt and restored. I don’t know where you are on that continuum, but there is One who can fix them all.

When something is broken we have a choice to make. We can discard it, or fix it. The potter in Jeremiah 18 had just such a decision to make. The vessel he was making was marred,…broken. But instead of throwing it away, he fashioned a new vessel according to his will. Ah, the restoration of something broken, what a marvelous, gracious moment that is.

God is a creator God. To things that are not, He speaks a word, and they become. He can speak existence into a void, light into darkness, hope into despair. But God is also a God of restoration. He takes things that are, but are broken, and makes them whole again, makes them right again.

I think maybe the worst part of being broken, is not knowing that we are. So we stumble through the darkness of our life blaming others for our difficult existence, never realizing that we are the cause.

A friend sent me this quote:

“When God placed a call on your life He already factored in your stupidity.” I wondering now why they sent that to me. Oh well.

The odd thing about this is, that there are times when brokenness is necessary, perhaps even good. Until someone realizes that they are broken, they can, most likely, never be fixed.

The focal point of all this is this; what makes brokenness a good thing, or not, has to do with our response. Brokenness can plunge us into despair, or move us toward repentance. When Isaiah came into God’s presence, and saw God’s holiness, he suddenly realized how broken he really was. He would have never come to that place of repentance and redemption had he not first felt his brokenness in comparison to God’s perfection, God’s holiness.

So, you see, I’m not speaking of a broken spirit, but rather brokenness of spirit. Brokenness that gives voice to our neediness. Brokenness that allows us to know that we are broken, and then pushes us toward God, the creator, the restorer, the redeemer, the fixer.

I pray that the simplicity of my words would move you along,  with me, to pick up the broken pieces of our lives and present them to the great Fixer.

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