Monday, July 1, 2013


Throw them out? Store them? Use them broken? Mend them? Decisions about broken things become more difficult as years go by.

A quick inspection of our closets, basement, and especially garage, reveals an accumulation of broken things. If we have what we used to call an attic, it would be cluttered too. Some people, are obsessed with keeping such stuff in the event that they might use it someday. On the other hand, I tend to be a thrower-outer.

Some things have sentimental value like family photos and scrapbooks of our children's or grandchildren’s refrigerator art. We'll probably keep those. But let's face it—most other things are space-wasters.

The older we become, the more broken things of the spirit and emotions we accumulate. Such intangibles hurt even more than a broken arm. Our past breaks up. People move and places change. Landmarks disappear. Our roots are severed—parents are gone along with our childhood memories. When our children grow up and leave home, we feel that distance and time have broken off our branches.

Our roles in life change with the cycling years. Our self-worth and influence feel fractured. Can we afford to cry over such breaks? Is it worthwhile to waste today's priceless limited time gazing in the rear view mirror of yesterday? Why should we apply Band-Aids or splints to broken things in our past when God has brand new adventures available to us? Jesus promised, “Lo, I make all things new!”

Broken things are space-wasters of the spirit that clutter our heart-garages and mental-attics. The Holy Spirit is the Great Motivator, the Eternal Prompter; He draws us, pushes us, and impels us to keep moving on to new things instead of hugging broken things. "Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth, I proclaim them to you" (Isaiah 42:9).

Sometimes the Lord deliberately severs our roots to pull us out of the hardened soil of the familiar that prevents us from stretching and growing to the full potential God planned for us. As maturing Christians, let's not allow memories to become ponderous anchors for our life ships to hold us back from sailing over the wide ocean of what God has prepared for us. The only reason to pay attention to our past is to recount God's blessings.

When we leave a broken relationship behind, precious though it may have been—or painful—just over the horizon may be a surprising new relationship. A broken job or broken health may motivate us to unfold wings we've never tried before. Broken things are part of God's intensive care for us. He intends them for our good.

God's marching order regarding broken things is, "One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13,14).


Lord, broken things hurt!
I have broken roots:
Places of my early years
have changed;
they don't look the same,
and I'm a stranger there.
No one remembers my name.
I can't fit in anywhere.
Friends of my youth are gone,
displaced, or Moved On;
ties of the past
are broken by time
erased by circumstance.

I have broken branches:
Young ones are out the door
to live no more under my care
no longer needing me
and starting another family tree.
They grow their own branches
which seem to me
even more fragile than mine.

I feel broken:
There was a time
when I was somebody
known in the gates,
called upon, leaned upon.
Now I feel fractured,
shattered, useless.
I don't rhyme with anyone and
I'm out of rhythm with the times,
with the new world out there
that doesn't care
who I was or am.

Lord, You too were broken:
Your heart and body were
broken for me like bread
that You multiplied
when many were fed.
You feel the same infirmity
that touches me.

Help me to learn Your ways:
Whatever You allow
to be broken now
makes room for the new
to spring into view;
You uproot the familiar
to reveal broader horizons;
You shift a relationship
to stretch my reach;
You change my role in life
to prompt fresh bonding.

Because You love me
You sever that which chains
me to the common,
the habitual and accustomed.
I accept Your way
for with the broken things
You give my spirit wings!

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