“You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-3 (MSG)
When I read this verse, I see a picture of something being cracked open and broken – exposing all the colours and life once hidden beneath its shell – revealing both the ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ I think brokenness is something we’re all familiar with to some degree, but maybe the way we choose to deal with that sense in various situations, is where we can differ.
I know when pressures and problems make themselves known, sometimes my first instinct is to blindly clean them up and throw them out – as quickly as possible, without really stopping to consider it in any sort of rational sense – let alone allow any amount of time to let it (and God) work itself out. I think though, that response to discomfort can end up sort of overpowering the voice of hope, and so out of shame, we try and clean the supposed mess before anyone (including ourselves) sees the extent of it.
But what of the fact that there might also be hope to be found in this mess? What if in our rushed attempt to clean up the ‘bad’ mess, we wiped clear the ‘good’ colours of hope too? What if in this there is something lovely? What if this place is an opportunity for the healer to mend and strengthen? I think when we can trust God, (The Divine, Love, Grace, Father, Counsellor) to do his (what will only ever be) good work in us, the breaking open will in time, bring life to the once hidden places – places that were actually fighting for breath anyway. Brokenness is I think, simply one of the traits that comes with being human, and if we can somehow turn towards love rather than shame when we are faced with it, whatever the reason, it just might have something quite beautiful to offer back. What else does love know to do, after all? I know that shame only knows how to shame, but what of love?
I think brokenness might actually be okay; perhaps our brokenness is not the battle we need to fight and hurriedly repair; it’s what and who we allow to reshape us afterward and during that matters. Just as our physical body can heal itself, so too can our soul. But I think the neat thing about our soul, is that when it is guided by love and grace, of which I think God is the essence, it has a mysteriously natural way of mending itself into something stronger, wiser, more colourful than before. Each crack experienced may in actual fact, hold the potential to invite a new wonder-colour into the tapestry that is your life.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG).