TITLE: Broken Things
By Clyde Blakely
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One of God’s specialties is working with broken things, making things right again. This was the case from the beginning, in fact, even before the beginning, which I’ll explain later.
God uses everything He has created to reveal more about Him and His Character. Consider: we break grain to make bread, we break the bread to eat to make the body stronger. God also uses broken people to build His Kingdom. He does not use the proud but the broken and contrite heart to accomplish His goals. He uses the humble.
There is a saying that when God wants to accomplish the impossible He takes an impossible person and crushes him. The apostle Paul is a great example; Peter can also be used. Some easily have a humble, contrite heart and are used by Him more smoothly. Others, myself at times – well, most of the time, need to be crushed (broken) to some extent before He is able to use us.
Does He do this on purpose? Does He allow or actually “crush” people in order to allow them to know more of Him, to grow as Christians, to grow His kingdom? That’s a question everyone must answer for themselves during times of being broken. I believe, in my case, it is true. Believing this and accepting it during “crushing” periods is sometimes hard. However, knowing He wants to work everything to our good during bad times and ultimately for “good” in His kingdom, He can start doing this earlier when we let Him do His work than if we stay where we are at the time in our thinking and not growing. I learn more about myself and even more about Him and occasionally get a glimpse His wisdom in doing so.
Some people call this “turning it over to God” and it might be a good way of looking at it. But in such a phrase there can be have the appearance of “passiveness”, meaning we sit back and wait to see what God will do. This can be helpful during hard emotional periods but He wants us to be active with Him, yet not going ahead Him. This is a hard road to follow without listening carefully to His Spirit, His “Holy” Spirit.
I remember when our house burnt down. We had worked on it for 3 months or so just to make it habitable. We lived there 11 days and the day after Christmas it burnt down. We had not signed insurance papers yet. As I stood outside looking at everything we own, except for what we had on, go up in smoke I knew that God had done it. I didn’t know why and I did not accuse Him, I just knew He had done it. There were so many, many blessings that came out of the fire, too many to mention here. I will say it restored my good thoughts and good feeling of the human race after having just come out of a very terrible local political beating. As I saw the blessings start to come (which if I had dwelt on what I’d “lost” or turning from God, I may not have seen the blessings) I began sharing them with others – frequently. One time I was in an office purchasing some building material and witnessing to the clerk about how good God had been and all the blessings He had given me when another customer said, “My house burnt down many years ago and I still haven’t got over it.” How sad!
One blessing I realized was that it will not be how big of a house I had, or how much money I made, or any titles I had but it will be how I treated my fellow man that people will remember me for after I die. I frequently would say, “God took everything from me once and I will leave it all behind again one day but it’s how I treated my fellow man that’s how people will remember me.” I was driving to work one day with a clear blue sky, when God spoke to me, “I took everything from you once and you will leave everything behind again some day but will you give it to Me now?” That’s a daily question and sometimes more often than that. He took a broken thing and made a very good thing out of it.
When I was shot accidentally I knew immediately it was something God had done. Not accusing again, just knew. When I was trying to stop the bleeding from my carotid artery while waiting for an ambulance, I knew if I died I would be face-to-Face with my Maker in perfect peace, love, and forgiveness. No time for repentance or confessions. I must admit it was not as comforting then as it is now (holding my carotid artery). You can have that understanding in your mind but once you’ve experienced it, it becomes part of your life. A friend took a picture of the x-ray showing all the pellets. She sent it to me. I have pulled it out hundreds of times when someone asks me, “How are you?” and I tell them, “I feel shot.” I pull out the picture, tell them the story and then share how marvelous God has blessed me. A broken thing which God is making good, still. What a blessing! I would not trade the house fire or being shot for anything!
There are broken things that are hard to see any good out of and some we will never see any good in this lifetime but God does good, all the time! We have to believe that.
The first broken thing that God started working on was the broken relation man created in the garden. Sin separated us from God and God started working on it from the beginning. Actually, it was before the beginning as I mentioned earlier. In Revelation 13:8 it says that Christ was slain from the foundation of the world. We think of Jesus hanging on the cross for our sins and rightly so, for He did. But God had already planned that was to happen at the time He laid the foundation of the earth. And remember it was Jesus, Himself, Who made the heavens and earth (John chapter one). Though God’s own counsel and nothing else, He (They) determined that Jesus would
be crucified (Eph. 1:10 says it was predestined – a word often rejected in some modern theologies).
Jesus being slain at the very start leads into areas which can be hard to understand. Consider, God is not affected by time, He is outside of time, He doesn’t experience time as we do for He created time. Einstein came to this conclusion when he was formulating his theory of relativity and it’s true – nothing was made that He did not make. Einstein clarified this by saying that the universe is not in time but time is in the universe or, in other words, if the universe ceased to exist so would time. Therefore, He looks at things differently than we do. He sees the past, present, and future all at the same “time”. He knows the beginning from the end (see Revelation). He is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is unchanged and unaffected by time. Then it has to be true that Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world! Predestined, if you will. He created the universe along with time. He created ALL time at the “beginning” or at the foundation of the world. If He is omnipresent (here, there, and everywhere) then He must be throughout time – everywhere in time at the same “time” or else He is not omnipresent. So He must have had a plan.
Did He know satan would rebel and be cast out of heaven to the Garden of Eden to tempt man? Robinson Crusoe was witnessing to Friday in the book when Friday asked him this question, “If satan was so bad, why didn’t God just kill him?” Why didn’t He? Is it because God had a plan to use him? To use him to break things so He could fix them? I’ll let you think about that one.
I’ll try to tie the broken relationship between God and man to the above by giving a story. When I was a freshman in college I liked to play three handed pinochle with a couple of girls. Occasionally we would talk about spiritual things. One day while studying in my dorm room I had this “brilliant thought” and called the girls. They said that they had been talking and had a question they wanted to ask me. I said, “Let’s meet in the basement and talk.” I ran down the stairs all excited to tell them this brilliant thought I had and got there before they did so I started running up their stairs to meet them. We met in the stairwell. They said they wanted to ask me this question and I said, “I want to tell you what I just thought first”; I was so excited.
They sat down on the steps while I talked enthusiastically: “Did you ever wonder why God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden? Man was in paradise, he had complete fellowship face-to-Face with God. No death, no sickness, no sorrow. There was only one thing they could not do – eat of that tree. Why did He place it there? Did He know they were going to eat of it? Satan had been cast out of heaven and was there to tempt them. I believe God placed that tree there so we could get to know Him better. God is good, only good and all good. But Adam and Eve didn’t know that – they had not eaten of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of GOOD and evil. The only way we can really know how good, good is, is to know evil. Therefore, the only way really to know how good God is is to know how evil evil is. It’s that knowledge which draws us to God.”
The two girls looked at each other, stood up and started back up the stairs. I asked what their question was, they stopped looked at me and continued up the stairs. I asked again what was their question, they turned and said, “That was our question!” God had given me the answer to their question while they were formulating it and before they asked me!
I took it that the “brilliant thought” I had was been given to me by God and I was allowed to answer their question before they asked it as confirmation it was from Him.
How does this tie in with broken things? In the Garden man’s fellowship was broken with God but God had a plan – Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world (some translations say “before the foundation of the world”). There was already a plan for redemption BEFORE the fall of man.
Did God know man would fall? Seems pretty clear to me: satan, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Jesus slain before the foundation of the world.
Yet the broken thing which happened in the Garden is not the biggest thing ever broken. It happened on the cross: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Jesus cried out in His anguish when all the sins of the world, past, present, and future were laid upon His shoulders and the Father turned His face away from His Son. The eternal fellowship between Father and Son was broken, because of us. Because we sinned and because He loved us. A method for the broken fellowship between God and man to be restored was made – the sacrifice of His Son for our sins. A moment in time for us but a plan before the foundation of the world by God to know Him personally and to fellowship with Him in harmony. Realizing that Jesus died for us and accepting His sacrifice on our part mends the broken thing between God and man (you and me).
But God did not stop there, there was more to the plan. Three days after Jesus died He rose from the grave, conquering death for us and opening the door to eternal fellowship with Him. Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for us and if He goes away He would surely come again and bring us to that place (John 14:1-3) never for any broken thing to happen again!
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