Everything’s Broken

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The other day I took one of my Junior Highers out to get ice cream.  We looked intently at all of the flavors, made our choices, and sat down to enjoy ourselves.  This was the first time that I’d spent much time with this particular young man so I started asking lots of questions about what he liked to do, where he went to school, what his family was like, etc.  What followed was an hour long conversation that broke my heart in almost every way.  In the same matter of fact tone that you might tell someone about what you did yesterday he began to relay to me the broken details of his life.  Divorce, parental drug abuse, multiple siblings spread all over the state, CPS, and countless other tragedies made up the tapestry of this young man’s life.  The only consistent thing seemed to be the complete instability that characterized his day to day experience.

As we finished our ice cream and made our way outside I couldn’t help but think about how broken this young man’s life was, and he’s only 12.  Something inside of me wanted to cry out, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be!  Children are meant to live with both of their parents, to be raised to know and fear the Lord, to have security knowing that mom and dad love them and love each other.”  The problem is that life is broken and so nothing is the way that it’s supposed to be, including this young man’s life.

Paul Tripp writes about this brokenness in his book, Broken Down House:

“The brokenness around you affects you in different ways at different times.  Sometimes you have to deal with personal hurt.  Sometimes you grow angry that things do not function as they were designed to.  Sometimes you are overwhelmed with feeling sad or lost in the face of this world’s pitiful condition.  Sometimes you get tired of the effort it takes to live in a broken-down house, and you just want to quit.  At every point and every moment, your life is messier and more complicated than it really ought to be because everything is so much more difficult in such a terribly broken world.”

How do we respond to life in this broken world?  Should we close our eyes to the suffering around us and try to insulate ourselves from the brokenness?  Should we allow our hearts to become numb or indifferent with apathy?  Should we just lay down and cry?  Here’s a summary of Tripp’s response:

  1. Determine to be honest about the world we live in.  In other words, don’t try to cover up the brokenness of the world we live in.
  2. Let yourself mourn.  This world is a broken place full of pain and it is appropriate for us to mourn over that.
  3. Fight to be dissatisfied.  Do not allow the day to day drone of this broken world lull you into being satisfied with it’s brokenness.
  4. Be glad.  While this world is broken, Emmanuel has come to restore that which has been lost.
  5. Live with anticipation. By an extraordinary act of God’s grace, all his blood-bought children are guaranteed to be part of a much better neighborhood.  Someday we will all live in the New Jerusalem on a street called Shalom, where brokenness will be no more.
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February 08 2010 05:00 am | Devotional

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