August 19, 2011

Are You Broken Too?

(from the archives; originally published December 10, 2007)

Plague a starving child with a devastating wheat allergy and then surround him with bread, that’s what it feels like to be a Christian single adult in America today. We have a base human need to be intimate, physically and emotionally, with another human being and yet we are required to exercise holiness first and foremost. It is a burden we accept but a struggle we never master.

Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Reasonable . . . what an understatement! There is nothing too much for the Lord to require of us, His blood-soaked, hell-spared children. We live in full knowledge of the truth that death has purchased our lives and we owe our Savior all; each breath, each thought, each moment of every day. We desire to surrender all of these things successfully, but to our disadvantage, life is not constructed so that we can make a solitary deposit in the bank of faith and then cease to live human lives with human feelings and human frailties. It doesn’t take long on the Christian journey for all of life’s desires to funnel down to one thing and that is for this struggle to cease and for holiness to function on auto-pilot. Maybe this growing starvation for holiness and wholeness is what the Word conveys when saying “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) for as we know, our long awaited entry into Heaven is on its way. Until then, we shall not escape the longsuffering of the flesh since we have committed to live lives pleasing to God.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Psalm 13:11-12

There is some consolation in fact that the Word of God does not neglect our heart’s condition as we wait on blessing, but when years pass even consolation fails to comfort. A person can take Tylenol for tuberculosis, and it may dull the misery for a moment, but the sickness will not lose its potency. When pain becomes pervasive our hearts cry for more than consolation.

“For consider him [Jesus] that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:3-4

Oh how great a weariness descends on the Christian solider bound by flesh. I know that fainting feeling all too well and sometimes I am amazed that I have not tumbled head first into the fire. The fight has often been too much for me. Yet I am always delivered, nursed, and nurtured by God’s tender mercies only to be restored to face further barrenness and trial. Although one day of the last 10 years has not passed without a sense of suffering, I have never resisted sin to the point of shedding blood. The knowledge that my Jesus accomplished this length on my behalf is a great help to me. It is the example I must follow. But in the quiet I still cry, “Lord, you hear my heart, fix me, I am broken!”

Is that your heart’s cry too? Are you swimming in a sea of brokenness? Do you look to your Creator to repair what you deem damaged? I certainly do. May I share with you a love story that might help you see your brokenness from a lover’s eyes.

Auguste Rodin, the greatest sculptor who ever lived (in my opinion), creator of The Thinker and The Kiss, owned a prized possession, an artistic remnant from ancient Greece, a statue about four inches tall which never ceased to inspire his work. It had diminished to only a torso; the head, arms and legs had broken off and yet all its imperfection did not register in Rodin’s eyes. He studied it daily.

When I first saw a replica of this trinket my eyes saw something less than art because of its gross inadequacy. My first thought was, “Who better to own this artifact than the great Rodin? If anyone can repair this piece of nothing and restore its glory, it will be the greatest sculptor who ever lived. Give it to Him. He can fix it.” This was my original point of view, until I heard Rodin’s opinion of his tiny treasure. Even his hands of greatness wouldn’t move to repair a brokenness so beautiful.

Is it not possible that God sees our brokenness something like this?

Rodin wrote:

“Observe this little torso of a woman; it is a little Venus. It is broken; it has no longer a head, arms, legs, yet I never weary of contemplating it; each day, each hour for me adds to this masterpiece because I only understand it better. What could it say to our indifferent glance? For me it has the ineffable voluptuousness of softly maturing flesh. The effect lies in no part and in every part. It is perfection. This little childish body, has it not all the charm of woman? It does not catch the light, the light catches it, glancing over it lightly; without any effect of roughness, any dark shadow. Here shadow can no longer be called shadow but only the decline of light. She does not become dark, she grows pale in imperceptible depressions, in delicious undulations. She is indivisible; she is whole or incomplete, but her unity is undisturbed. Everything is full of the calm, the lightness, the serenity of pure beauty in the perfect confidence of nature. When I look at this marble in the evening by candlelight, how the wonder deepens! If those who have been telling us for a hundred years that Greek art is cold studied it with care, could they for one hour maintain this absurdity? This sculpture, on the contrary, is of an extraordinary living complexity, which the flame reveals; the whole surface is nothing but depressions and reliefs; but united, melted together in the great harmonious force of the ensemble. I turn the little torso about under the caressing rays of the light. There is not a fault, not a weakness, not a dead spot; it is the very continuity of life, its intoxicating voluptuousness hidden in the bosom of the molecule.”

A replica of the little torso:

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