Resurrection Sunday: Brokenness is not the end of the story
Joy does not come with the morning, I thought to myself on one of the many mornings my body had failed to stay asleep. Sleep would suddenly leave me in the early hours of the day, when it was still out dark and nobody was stirring awake.
Sometimes my heart would be buzzing within me, all the sadness milling around, unprocessed as I slept. On rarer occasions, I’d emerge from my unconsciousness like a drowning person gasping for air, my greatest fears realised in a dream that was too close to home. Tears would be wet against my face.
The grief had come in waves, some for years, decades. And then there were the fresh wounds, those that came day by day. I tried to understand it within the strong arms of my faith, the burning and refining, the pruning and growing. But every morning the pain greeted me with new fervour, undoing the lessons I’d so desperately tried to weave into my spirit.
I wrote my first Easter piece in that very brokenness. In fact, many stories were birthed in that place of crushing. But while The longest day in the world is about the Silent Saturday after Good Friday – the day after the lights go out in your world – this Easter story is about Resurrection Sunday, the promised land of the heart. New life. Unexpected, unexplainable new life.
The tumultuous climb out of the valley is too long to recount in a single sitting, but I would like to honour the Easter season with 3 powerful pieces of encouragement from the journey past.
3 BEAUTIES IN BROKENNESS
1. It’s not how broken you are; it’s who you bring your pieces to
In a culture that runs low on tolerance towards broken things, surviving prolonged seasons of suffering can be highly uncomfortable. For the Christian, this unyielding sadness might be further confronted with biblical truths on joy, making the pain even more disconcerting.
But two things I held onto when the going got really, really tough: One, that brokenness, in whatever form and severity, was part of the Christian journey to surrender and transformation – because a potter cannot mould what has been cast and hardened in its own ways. In the unchanging goodness of God’s heart for me, this was a crucial part of the restoration process, even if I could not see it from where I was.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
And secondly, that God was not offended by my brokenness, as a physician is not offended by infirmity. He doesn’t count the pieces my life is in and declares my case as irreparable – there is nothing too broken that He cannot fix. But the work on me can only start if I bring every broken part to Him.
2. “Brokenness makes way for more of Me”
Last year, the Lord gave me a picture in the prayer room. It was a white vase with gold fillings in all its cracks, a common analogy of kintsugi, a Japanese method of mending broken pottery with gold. “That’s a nice thought, God,” I remember thinking, a little underwhelmed. The trauma of repeated heartbreak must have been too fresh in my mind.
It was only at the end of the year during a conference, when we were praying for hearts of compassion, that I cried out to God telling Him I had no idea how to love the way He did. “My heart is not big enough,” I told Him. And that’s when He showed me that every time a vessel breaks and is mended, the new fillings of the cracks inadvertently expand the size of the vessel. There is more vessel than before!
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
I knew then that all the breaking of my heart, and its mending with the gold of God’s healing power, had grown its capacity even before I could ask for it. “Brokenness makes way for more of Me,” God spoke into my spirit. More love to be held and poured out with a vessel more precious after than before the breaking.
3. Brokenness is the beginning not the end
Sadness had become the status quo long before I noticed it. For months after the worst things had happened in an almost merciless sequence, I continued to live in a “brace” position, expecting another curveball out of nowhere, another punch to the gut.
But this cannot be said enough: Brokenness is not the place for you to settle. Good Friday is good only because it ended with Resurrection Sunday. The point of Easter is Resurrection Sunday – if Christ had only died but not risen to life on the third day, we would still be destined for eternal separation from God, just maybe without the wrath.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
His body was broken for our sins on that Friday, but He returned to life on Sunday with all our lives redeemed and ready to be claimed through faith in His name. Life is the promise. Freedom, peace, joy, fullness, wholeness is our promised land. Brokenness was never the end. It was the beginning of the greatest and most glorious march into everlasting victory. This is how your brokenness ends.
Just a few days ago I was back in the prayer room for the first time in 2019. And when I was reading Psalm 84:6, remembering my verse from my own Valley of Weeping, I found myself at Psalm 86:12: “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.” And that picture of the mended vessel surfaced again.
My whole heart. Once broken beyond human repair, now finally made whole – and I knew it deep inside. This was always how God intended the longest day in the world to end. Not in the weeping of the night, but a joy in the eventual morning of Resurrection Sunday.
In the words of King David, in the following verses of Psalm 86:13: “For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.”
New life is on its way, my friend. Unexpected, unexplainable new life.
THINK + TALK
- Are you struggling with brokenness?
- Is there anything in your life that needs mending?
- What is God saying to you through this season of brokenness?