There is an old song that asks “How can you mend a broken heart?”, talking about a romantic relationship gone bad. Based on the topic of brokenness I ask, how does God mend a broken person?
I’m sure you have already tried to fix an object that got broken before. You try to put the pieces back together (which may be a challenge depending on how bad it was broken and how many small pieces it was turned into) then apply glue or a similar material to hold them into one piece again.
But you can usually see that the object was broken. Maybe you can see the marks or notice that it is not quite exactly how it used to be. Even if you made an awesome job and there are no visible signs, you know that the object is more fragile now. It may break again easier than before.
What about people?
When something is broken inside a person (a hurt or trauma from the past) it keeps them from being whole.
I’ve seen people trying to hide their brokenness. That doesn’t work, the hurt is still there, they may not see it, it may look like everything is perfect, but it is still impacting that person’s life.
Sometimes, the person tries to patch things up with drugs, alcohol, gambling, all sorts of illusions, but it just breaks them even more. It’s like trying to hide a crack in a vase by applying duct tape to it. It is worse after than it was before. You may not see the crack, but eventually you won’t see the vase at all.
People may try to hide or “patch up” their brokenness, but that’s not how God works. He wants to mend, heal them completely.
So, how does God deal with broken people?
The Bible uses several times an analogy showing us as jars of clay and God as the potter, and this analogy is also used to show how God mends our brokenness.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
Have you ever seen a potter working? If they are making a jar and they notice a problem, even a tiny little thing, they stop no matter how close they are to finish it and start from scratch again. They make the “almost-jar” into a pile of clay again, and start over. There’s no patching up on the way, no hiding the flaw, the jar has to be free of any cracks and deformations.
The problem is that to tear it all down, it hurts. It may even seem to hurt more than the original cause of the brokenness. But it is necessary. It is like when someone break a bone and it heals in the wrong position. The doctor has to break it again so it can heal properly. There’s no other way.
This means that God will put us through experiences that may be difficult, but He knows that there is a purpose in all of that: mending us. Maybe we have to face our fears, or forgive someone who’ve hurt us, or ask someone for their forgiveness…
We have to trust Him that everything that’s going on is for our own good, somehow. And let Him do the mending.
So we can be whole again.