I don’t know if you’re like me but so often if something is broken, I can’t wait to toss it out. I just recently tossed out a bean bag because the stuffing had probably been sat on by one thousand teenagers. I gave up some of our kitchen stools because our guests could feel the springs in their tush when they came over to visit. I’ve been rocking some black pants with a broken zipper and I finally handed those babies over. Because I know I’ll never take the time to fix them (and let’s be honest, I don’t know how to fix a broken zipper). We give up on things when they break whether they are remote controls, lamps, cars, blinds, sunglasses, or laptops. But we don’t just do this with “things.” We also do it with people.
When someone’s brokenness feels like it’s too much to fix, too much to rescue, too much to heal, too much to handle, we can find ourselves giving up. We give up on brokenness because it makes us uncomfortable. We give up on it in others because it often highlights ours. We give up on brokenness because the fixing process feels like sooooo much work.
Before my husband and I were married, he lived in an apartment in the Seattle area and one day when he was taking out the garbage, he happened upon a rocking chair in the dumpster. Now, if it was me, you already know what I would do. I would throw my garbage in with the chair, dust my hands off and not think twice. But not my husband. No, Rob took that old rickety broken chair out of the dumpster. He dusted it off and fixed all the broken parts. Then he sanded it and stained it the most beautiful reddish brown. After that he put on a varnish to protect the wood and make it shine. He revived the seat with new stuffing and a new cover. Rob took what most people would label broken and no longer worthy of its purpose and he spiffed it up into a beautiful chair that has rocked both my babies and all our guests for over 20 years. That dear chair sits in our living room and has for decades.
In the same way that Rob restored something other people gave up on, Jesus restores the brokenness that humanity wants to give up on. When you see Jesus in the New Testament colliding with broken people, you don’t see Him walk away. You don’t see Jesus giving up on what feels like a lot of freaking work. You don’t see Jesus saying, “You know, you once had a purpose, but boy you don’t work anymore. Let’s leave you in the dumpster and call it good.”
What we do see is Jesus colliding with brokenness and staying there. With the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus stayed standing when everyone else walked. Jesus will stand in your brokenness and mine and there’s not an ounce of giving up on His part. We often give up on ourselves, but not Jesus. No, He never gives up on us.
I love that God sees our brokenness and He isn’t afraid. He doesn’t think it’s too much work. He sees the muck and the mire and He dusts it off. He sees the rickety parts that need gluing back together. He sees the arms that aren’t connected to the body and the body that’s not connected to the feet and He gets out His tools. He sees the surface that has been beaten and battered and He gets out the sander. When Jesus collides with brokenness, He always makes it more whole. It’s almost like Jesus can’t wait to restore the parts that are rickety and He can’t wait to sand down the places that have gotten rough. And He can’t wait to invite the color and shine back out of us. And He can’t wait to remind us we have a purpose and no amount of pain or wounds, mistakes or mess, no amount of brokenness gets to steal that purpose. Jesus won’t allow that. God doesn’t run into the things about you that feel broken and walk. He sees the potential of recovery, restoration and renewal and so He rolls up His sleeves, pulls you out of wherever you are that you feel given up on, and He spends time attending to you.
The right arm of our rocking chair now falls off and when it does, it falls to the ground and leaves an exposed a nail meant to attach it to the rest of the chair. So when this happens we quickly click the arm back on the nail, temporarily putting it back together again. Now every time someone sits in this chair, the arm does its thing. It flips off and our family all laughs and we act like it’s the first time and our guests feel bad because they think they broke the chair and we let them think so for about 10 seconds. And then we put the arm back on its nail for the next guest. I have had moments where I have wondered if we should let go of this darn chair, but I bet there will be a day soon where I’ll find my husband in the garage with his tools, channeling the restorative character of His Jesus caring for, attending to, and loving on that which is broken, bringing it back to its intended purpose.
May you know today, deep within the places that feel messy, bruised and broken, that you have a God who sits there with you and He has a restorative newness He longs to bring about in your life. He will never give up on you so don’t give up on yourself. There’s nothing too broken, old, or wrecked about you that makes you worth giving up on. God is in the business of colliding with brokenness and making it whole. That’s what He does and what He does, He doesn’t just do for other people, He’ll do it for you too. He’ll not only do it for you but He can also do it through you… You can get out the grace and the tools, the old chair and the new materials, the time and the hope, and you can act like Jesus. Begin reminding people they are worthy of keeping, worthy of purpose, worthy of restoration. That’s the kind of work Jesus puts His hands to and that’s the kind of work He invites us to put our hands to as well.
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