The power of a broken vessel
Published 9:24 am Thursday, January 26, 2023
When we think of a broken or cracked glass or vase, we immediately think of something that is no longer usable. We see an item destined for the trash can. Thankfully, that is now how God views a broken vessel. He sees a vessel that He can use to demonstrate His power. The Bible proclaims in Psalm 34:18, “18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit,” and Psalms 51:17 states, “17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” In these verses, we see that God is close to them that are broken and expects us to be broken before Him. We spend our lives trying to keep everything together and not be broken, however it is in our weakness that God’s strength is made perfect. Paul states in II Cor. 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul is glorying in his own brokenness and problems while realizing that God will manifest His power and strength through that same brokenness.
Brokenness is a spiritual condition that attracts the attention of God. It is OK, not to be OK! The word brokenness refers to the state of surrender and defeat we experience when hardship comes into our usually steady and painless life. Brokenness is often the result of circumstances or sin. No one enjoys the feeling of brokenness, but the powerful benefits it brings to our spiritual growth are immense. We spend all our time trying not to be broken when in fact being broken pays. We try to hold it all together.
From the outpouring of a broken and guilty heart comes the language that God best understands. There is a productive struggle in life, and in that struggle, we will draw closer to God and see His power and our own fragility. We immediately recognize that we are truly dependent on Him! Recently, I had the privilege to preach this message at my pastor’s conference. It was obvious that most pastors there were struggling and doing their best to keep things together. Following the message, I heard many say that I had spoken what they were feeling. The altar was full of men crying out on God. Pastors deal every day with their own battles and the battles of others. They are not superhuman, but most days they try to fix everything despite their own limitations. They experience compassion, fatigue, depression, and burn-out. We hate to admit that we are often broken, but when we finally do, we have an overwhelming peace. We are afraid that we will be judged by others if we admit that we need help. The Bible is full of people who admitted they needed help, and through their brokenness, we see the display of God’s power. The world is often kicking our rear-ends, but we want to persuade everyone around us that we are OK. Once again, it is OK not to be OK!
Brokenness does not lead to bareness. Brokenness leads to blessedness. Brokenness always opens the door for us to receive the abundance of God’s hand. God will not allow brokenness to crush to destroy us, but it will grow us! The process of brokenness will stop, and the blessings will begin, the instant that we abandon our fleshly resources and submit to God’s will — allowing Him to be God, the one who can exclusively meet our needs. We must be willing to admit we are broken and cry out to Him. When we are weak, He is strong. Paul said in 2 Cor. 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not us.” The treasure within us is His Holy Spirit and it is exposed best through brokenness. Allow the power of God to be on full display by admitting that you need His help and strength. Cry out to Him today and don’t be afraid to do so! He knows you were created from dust, and you need Him. It was His design. God loves broken vessels.
(Brandon Young is pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)