Many years ago, when I was still young in my faith, I recall praying a very dangerous prayer.
“Lord, I love you, and I want to honor you with my life. I invite you to use me however you deem worthy. I will go wherever you will call me, and do whatever you will ask of me, even if it means that I am broken.”
We’ve all heard the saying, be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.
Little did I know the weight that my words would carry.
Not long after whispering that heart-felt prayer into the quiet of night, my 1 yr old daughter was unexpectedly killed in a tragic car accident.
Broken, I was.
“Then He ordered the crowds to recline on the grass, and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and blessed, and broke the loaves and handed them to the disciples, who gave them to the people.” (Matthew 14:19)
So often, when we are forced to endure hardship, we have a tendency to make our brokenness all about us. Why me, God? Why did you let this happen? Where were you? Why didn’t you save me? What did I do to deserve this? Why her? Why him? Why us? Why now?
But maybe, just maybe, these are the wrong types of questions.
I find it so interesting that Jesus first gave thanks and blessed the loaves, before He broke and distributed them. In order to better comprehend the significance of this, it’s important that we first understand the definition of the word, blessed.
Blessed– to consecrate; to make or declare something sacred. To dedicate to a divine purpose.
When I asked the Lord about the significance of the order in which Jesus did things on that special night, this is what He spoke to my heart,
“It is necessary that the life be blessed (consecrated) first, because a life that is broken without being previously consecrated, remains just that- broken, stale, and empty. But a life that is sanctified, when broken, will then become food for the multitudes.”
I don’t know about you, but I have been broken a time or two in my life. I have dealt with ongoing, debilitating illness, my body has been defiled at the hands of another, I’ve been rejected, betrayed and neglected, I’ve been hurt, mocked and shamed, I’ve suffered the painful loss of two of my children…
Yes, I know a thing or two about brokenness.
But one thing I have come to understand about being broken, is that it is not about me.
As followers of Christ we are called to be a blessing to others. We are called to be the light of the world, a city on a hill, and the salt of the earth. We are called to live a life that points the way back to Jesus. A light that shines in the darkness for all men to see and glorify God.
But what if the blessing lies in our brokenness?
“Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)
There seems to be a direct correlation between the act of being broken and the production of fruit in our lives. The bread is broken, and then is multiplied. I’m not sure we can have one without the other. They appear to go hand in hand.
Br. Curtis Almquist says it so eloquently in his sermon The Feeding of the Multitudes,
“It takes broken soil to produce a crop. Broken clouds to give rain. Broken grain to give bread. Broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter weeping bitterly who returns to greater power than ever.”
Indeed, our brokenness leads to another’s feast. What’s more is this is a feast of supernatural proportions- of miraculous provision, and spectacular abundance! There is nothing left to waste. Scripture says that after everyone had eaten and was satisfied, the disciples picked up 12 baskets full of broken pieces that were left over.
The very fact that there were leftovers is, in and of itself, nothing short of miraculous, but what do you suppose they did with those leftovers? I believe they were reserved for later use.
You see, Jesus wastes nothing. Everything that happens in our life, if given to Him, will be multiplied and distributed for the blessing of others.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
Allow me leave you with this- on the night before Jesus died, scripture says that He broke the bread and said, “this is my body which is broken for you.”
His body was broken so that we may live. If the breaking of Jesus’ body was necessary for the good of all mankind, then wouldn’t it make sense that it be so with us?
Father, thank you that you don’t waste a thing. Everything; every hardship, every heartache, every tear, you use for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose. God, multiply the broken pieces of our lives, and use them to feed the multitudes of people who desperately need you. Amen.
You’ll find this post linked up at Missional Women for their #NotAboutMeNovember series.