Day 3: The God Who Transforms // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness
Hi there! This is day 3 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.
I live in Missouri, which means that my favorite season (FALL!) lasts about six minutes. Don’t throw rocks at me, but summer is just not my jam: it’s hot, I sweat, just no. And winter is not my favorite either – though I think snow is so pretty, I am not a fan of driving in it. Give me a crisp fall day, cozy layers, crunchy leaves, and apples and pumpkins everywhere any day. But the funny thing about fall in Missouri is that the weather can’t really decide what’s going on. It’s a running joke where I live that you know you’re in Missouri if you have to turn on your air conditioner and your heat in the same day. If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. Is it 66 degrees outside on October 2 and 91 degrees on October 3? Or better yet, both in the same afternoon? You are probably in Missouri.
Sometimes change seems to be the only constant thing in our world. The weather, technology, seasons in life as well as on the calendar. Our world is constantly changing and transforming, and while this can be scary, it can also be a hint toward hope.
God brings us flowers every spring and handpaints us a sunrise every morning. He is the author of the sound rain makes on roofs and the smell it leaves behind after a storm. Leaves changing color was His idea. Sometimes I think He does certain things just to see that look on our faces during the first snowfall of the season, or when a meteor shower glues our awestruck eyes to the night sky.
If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you might know about how it can be more than just an emotional experience – it can be a physical one. It can feel like a cavern has opened in the hollow of your throat that extends down into your chest. Sometimes this kind of brokenness can feel hopeless, like it will never heal up. Like nothing you can ever do will close the gap and allow you to feel whole again.
Likewise, if you’ve ever wandered into sin that totally derailed you and had you feeling beyond terrible, you might know about how it can seep into your self image and even affect your self worth. You think, how did I end up here, and how could God ever take me back?
When we are hurting, sometimes we tend to think in absolutes, in black and white and permanency. We think we are too broken for God to use us ever again. We are disqualified. Damaged. It’s over this time, this one can’t be fixed. But everything we see around us whispers something different. The clouds change shape before our eyes, birds invent brand new songs and sing them to us, and our waistline rudely expands after a milkshake, reminding us that change and transformation are very possible.
Whether our brokenness takes the form of something we got ourselves into or something that happened to us, or some combination of both, our hope is found in the possibility of our healing. And that possibility is certainty in Jesus.
He promises to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted, to wipe away every tear from our eyes, and David says that He collects all our tears in a bottle. He doesn’t lose even one. He wept when He arrived in town to find that His friend Lazarus had died and everyone was despairing. He cried out to His Father on the cross in loneliness and deep pain, asking why He had forsaken Him. He knows intimately what it means to suffer and He put on human skin to experience all our hurts firsthand, from scraped knees to emotional trauma and everything in between. Even still, He knows every slight, every sting, every wrong inflicted on us and He weeps over our pain, understanding us perfectly. He is a God who sees.
And Jesus did more than just promise to heal us; He healed people everywhere He went. It’s almost like He knew that our faith sometimes shrinks when we are in pain, and we would need a visual, concrete reminder that He’s got this. He did not just preach the gospel, He took care of people’s needs so they could hear Him better without having to contend with their hunger or their sickness distracting them. Jesus always seemed to have time for anyone who reached out to Him asking for healing. He is a God who shows up.
During His life on earth, Jesus made the lame walk and the blind see. In addition to this being something that must have been *incredibly cool* to witness (can you imagine?!), this should give us So. Much. Hope. If all it takes is a brush of His hand to literally change the physical structure of someone’s body so that they can stand up again for the first time in years, or blearily blink color and light back into view where there was once only darkness – if that is within His power, surely He can handle my broken heart. And yours. Hallelujah. He is a God who heals.
And this God? This is a God who took a stuttering coward named Moses and created an incredible leader who would usher his people to freedom from Egypt. This is a God who changed plain water into the very best wine, multiplied a few pieces of bread and fish to feed a crowd of thousands, and raised people from the dead. This is a God who stopped a murderer named Saul in his tracks on a road trip, gave him a new name and a new mission, and he ended up writing half the Bible and spreading the gospel across two continents. He can take the likes of us, laden with our stories and our guilt and our hurts, and change us into impactful instruments of His kingdom in ways we can’t even imagine yet. He is a God who transforms.
There is hope for the brokenness we are carrying, hope for the hole in our hearts that feels like it may never close, hope for our self-destructive habits and our painful mistakes. You might not see how this could turn out okay right now, but I’m telling you that the God I know will show up for you. He has strong hands and a gentle touch, and He can break even the strongest chains, wrap His grace around our mess, and heal up even the deepest wounds. He is a God who restores, responds, and makes whole. I am convinced that if we call out to Him, He will answer, and He will transform our brokenness into something beautiful and unexpected in this life or the next. And I am so ready for that.