Gracefully Broken

March 26, 2024

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17, ESV).


After cracking my right fibula during the ice storm, I decided it was a good time to fix my other foot. Long distance running had blessed me with a painful bunion and hammertoe on the left. I figured that getting it fixed now, while my right fibula was healing, would allow me to have both ready to run in less time than each having to heal sequentially. So, last Monday, an orthopedic foot specialist fixed my toes. When I recovered from anesthesia, he handed me a picture of his handywork. I was amazed. My previously whole but bent proximal and distal phalanges of my left great toe now were each fractured, held together by screws and pins. In order to fix me, my doctor broke me. I’ve been a bit slow on my scooter at work this week.


At least two great music artists, Matt Redmon and Tasha Cobb Leonard, have recorded the wonderful song, “Gracefully Broken.” I think of my life and praise God each time I hear it. Just like my toes, God takes crooked lives and makes them straight by breaking them. Praise His Name.


The song goes like this:


God will break you to position;
He will break you to promote you,
And break you to put you in your right place.
But when He breaks you, He doesn’t hurt you.
When He breaks you, He doesn’t destroy you, He does it with grace.

Has anybody here been gracefully broken? How exactly does that work?


The foundational sin of mankind is, as Oswald Chambers puts it, “my claim to my right to myself.” We don’t let go of that claim easily. Even as followers of Christ we hold on to areas of our lives where we say, “That’s mine, Lord. Someday I may let go, but not just yet.”


It is precisely those areas that prevent us from becoming the man or woman God created us to be, prevent us from accomplishing the mission God has prepared for us in this life.


Sometimes we hold on so tightly that the strong, loving and gentle Spirit of God cannot pry that private control from our hands. So, out of undeserved grace, He breaks us—sometimes directly and sometimes by simply withdrawing His protective Hand, letting the world do its thing.


It hurts. It hurts so deeply that God becomes our only hope. So, we let go of that which has separated us from Him and crawl into His arms. Then we can sing with Matt and Tasha:


Here I am, God, arms wide open,
Pouring out my life—
Gracefully broken.


Dear Father,

Help me to let go easily if possible. If not, then break me until I cry out to you, my only hope.


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