At the mere suggestion that perhaps the brokenness in your life is the way God created your life to break, several of us bristle. We look at our broken selves in the mirror and think about the longings for wholeness in our hearts, and we think, "If this is the way God thought was best for me to break, He doesn't know me very well."
Our brokenness crushes us. At least, I know mine does. I have lost track of how many nights I have lied awake, praying desperately to God to make me whole again. To take this away. Not some generic this, but this - this brokenness. This exact thing that my body, my heart, my mind, my soul can't seem to bear.
And yet, of course, I'm bearing it. It's not easy. It's not pretty. It's not fun. It makes me spend a lot of time questioning my strength, questioning my resolve, questioning the goodness of God, questioning His love for me. It's not what I would have chosen given the chance.
I ran across a story recently. It's a story that seems like the kind of thing that's been circulating for awhile, that you're more likely to have heard than to have not heard. Personally, I had never heard it. And I've been doing so much reading lately that I honestly can't tell you exactly where I came across it this time. (Sorry.)
But the story goes something like this: a man had a cross to bear, as we all do. A brokenness he couldn't get rid of. And it weighed him down. It burdened him to brokenness, and he longed for God to take it away. He begged and pleaded and even tried to make a deal with God. Anything, he prayed, but this.
So God, gracious as always, answered the man's prayers and took the man to a room filled with crosses. If the cross you've been given to bear is too much for you, God told the man, then choose any other cross. Choose whatever one works for you.
The man went through the room trying all of the crosses. The small ones were surprisingly heavy, and there wasn't a good place to a get a grip on any of them. Many had splinters that dug into his shoulders as he tried to move even a few steps. The big ones were immovable with his small size. One by one, he went through the crosses, but there was something about each of them that made it not the one he thought was for him.
Finally, he picked one up that actually fit perfectly. The weight was significant, but it was not too much. The beams laid in just the right places to fit his shoulders. There were no splinters coming off and digging into his skin. There were good places to hold onto, almost as though they were fit just for his hands.
This one, he told God, certain that he'd found just the right cross for himself. Finally.
God smiled and said, "Son, that's the one you sat down when you came in here."
We all have our cross to bear. None of us gets out of this fallen world unbroken. And it can seem sometimes like our cross is crushing us, but the truth is - given a choice, we'd find that this cross actually fits us perfectly. It's just the right weight, the right size, the right shape, the right roughness to do what it's supposed to do - draw us closer to Him.
Maybe God knows what He's doing after all.
(One more really important thing to talk about tomorrow. Please don't bail on me yet.)