Have you noticed that it is often when we are broken in heart or body or spirit, or sometimes all three, that we become most open and tender toward God.
Our fear when we experience brokenness, is that we will be left with nothing but bitter loss. One of God's many paradoxes, though, is that He can turn loss into abundant gain.
Our God does not waste anything, not even the broken pieces. From the five barley loaves and two small fishes that were broken, Jesus fed 5,000 men, plus women and children, and afterwards there were a lot of leftovers enough to fill 12 baskets. "Gather up the fragments," Jesus said, "that nothing be lost," (John 6:12).
I love that. Jesus did not want anything to be lost.
That speaks to our greatest fear - loss. You and I don't want to lose anything - not our loved ones, not our job, not our possessions, not our safety or out way of life, and certainly not life itself.
I remember a time in my own life when I felt so crushed and broken though, that I asked God to take my life. I had lost so much that seemed vital to me. I could not imagine that I would ever again experience wholeness and happiness. My days were as dark as my nights. I could relate to Jonah when he told how the billows and waves tossed him about and the weeds of the sea tangled themselves around his head. Helpless and hopeless.
I was praying and praising God and spending time in the Scriptures, clinging as best I could to His promises, but my feelings seemed to be despair and desolation. A heavy cloud was sitting on my shoulders, weighing me down, robbing me of joy.
Well, so much for feelings! Unbeknownst to me, God was doing a great work in my heart burning away the dross and refining the gold, and mending my broken heart.
In His own way and time, He brought me into a place of renewed blessing and happiness.
Before long my heart began to vibrate with joy and gladness and because of the painful lessons I had experienced, many new and exciting opportunities began to present themselves.
Did my brokenness result in loss? Well, yes. God had pruned away some useless debris. That was nothing, though, compared to the gain a closer walk with God and a new appreciation for how tenderly our Heavenly Father deals with his children. I was learning to trust Him more.
There was other gain also - increased fruit in my life. And that had been my heart's desire anyway - to be a fruitful servant for Him. So I can only praise God and rejoice that He not only allowed the brokenness, but He mended me back together - better than new.
Frana Hamilton is Director of Training at a vocational school where she teaches, advises and encourages out-of-work adults who need some training and a helpful boost to get them back into the workplace. She considers it a great privilege to have this ministry.