What do you picture when you hear the word “shattered”?
This week God has been talking to me about shattered. Through it, I keep seeing two images in my mind. One that hurts, one that heals.
Two types of shattered
The first is from the based-on-true-events WWII series, X Company. A Nazi calmly smashes an empty wine bottle, gathers the shards, and grinds the glass into an open chest wound of a captured Canadian secret agent to torture him into revealing state secrets.
The second is from the movie Joshua, which explores how life in a small town might change if Jesus returned to earth. In a pivotal scene, a distraught widow smashes a beautiful glass vase. “My life used to be whole,” she sobs. Pointing to the pieces, she adds, “Now that is my life—and it can’t be fixed.”
But Joshua gathers the broken pieces and fashions a beautiful angel out of it. Something whole. He leaves it with the parish priest, who gives it to the widow. Throughout the movie, she’d attended church sporadically, and only from a vague sense of duty. She has an ‘aha’ moment when she see something whole made from hundreds of shards of glass—and realizes who Joshua is.
Job put it this way: “I was at ease, but He shattered me; He seized me by the neck and crushed me” (Job 16:12 BSB).
AW Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.”
Ouch. Who would ask for that?
Shattered can become whole if God is in it
In recent weeks of being shattered, I’ve leaned on others’ wisdom about the topic.
- Author and radio show host Susie Larson: “Something has to break down before you can have a breakthrough … There’s life on the other side of hurt.”
- Charles Spurgeon: “My dear friend, when grief presses you into the dust, worship there.”
When you’re shattered, it’s not wrong to seek solace from people and Scriptures. But what you ultimately need is GOD. Just like the widow in the movie Joshua, your spirit will be restless if it settles for anything less.
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t want to be shattered. I’ve already been broken more than I ever thought I could handle. But God’s shattering does produce something new. Something whole. Not the same as before. Something closer to Christ-likeness.
If Gideon’s army hadn’t shattered the pitchers that hid their torches, God wouldn’t have given the Israelites victory over the Midianites (Judges 7). And how can we ignore Christ’s ultimate example? God produced newness of life for the whole world through Christ’s horrible death and glorious resurrection.
Living and ministering despite shattering
So what can you do in the midst of shattering? Five things.
- Be honest with God. Tell Him you wouldn’t have chosen to go through what you have if it were up to you.
- Ask yourself if you would trade your past comfort for where you are spiritually today.
- Admit God knows best. (Yeah, that’s humbling.)
- Claim God’s promises (such as Joshua 1:5) that He will see you through the worst life has to offer.
- Praise Him that He will make something whole from those shattered pieces—and will do it as only He can. (Try starting with Lamentations 3:22-23.)
In the midst of the biggest shattering of my life, I wrote, “I’m convinced that we cannot minister out of our brokenness. We only can minister out of our wholeness in Christ despite our brokenness.”
At least fourteen verses in the Bible describe broken people that Christ “made whole.” I pray you can find yourself in at least one of those verses today.
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