Thursday, January 23, 2014
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My wife I were enjoying a wonderful few days of rest on the Gulf Coast of Florida. And one of our favorite things to do is to walk the beach, although we can't seem to agree on how fast to walk. See, I'm Mr. Aerobics and she's Mrs. Aesthetics. She loves to walk slowly enough to appreciate the beautiful sea shells that the tide has deposited on the beach. Well, she finally slowed me down long enough to enjoy some of the color and the design that God has put into those shells. I'm glad she did.
Of course we weren't the only ones collecting them. Many people were walking along looking for those shell treasures. And my wife made an interesting observation. She said, "You know, no one picks up the broken ones." Well she does. She reached into her bag of treasures and produced this pink and white cone-shaped shell. Now the hard exterior had been broken away by the pounding surf, but there exposed was the interior which you wouldn't usually see; a beautiful, expressive pattern of twists and curls, and this intricate network of the inner chambers of a shell. I was seeing beauty I never could have seen if the shell wasn't broken.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Broken Shells."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 12. Paul is telling about his thorn in the flesh, and it was so painful and so frustrating it had to break him. And though the breaking was ugly, the result was really something beautiful. Three times he'd asked for this to be removed; whatever this agony was for him. But he says, "The Lord has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, he says, 'I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ' power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
The brokenness of Paul's life exposed the beauty and the grace of God, the strength of God, the power of God. My wife said, "No one picks up the broken ones." Actually Jesus does. Maybe He's done that with you. He uses the pain first to create a beauty in you that you could not develop any other way. He may be trying to do that right now.
When we're at the end of our answers and our resources, we finally throw ourselves on God in this total desperate dependency. And that humility gets us out of the way and allows us to experience God's power and God's love on a level we may have never touched before. There's nothing left of us so it's all Him, and that produces a beautiful new spirit; one that could never be there if we hadn't been broken.
God also uses our pain to give us a deep, new compassion; a new sensitivity for hurting people. And that compassion enables us to really make a difference for other people in a struggling world. After Christ creates that beauty inside of us, He displays it to a world that desperately needs to know the difference Jesus can make. The pounding breaks open our hard shell and lets the world see Jesus working inside.
If you're going through a hurting time right now, all eyes are upon you to see how you handle it. You have a unique opportunity to show them Jesus through your brokenness in a way you never could when you were whole. You know, Jesus was a broken person. He handed at that first communion to His disciples broken bread and said, "This is My body which is broken for you." He was broken so we could be healed.
You know, all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again. But I like to say, "The King can." He puts Humpty Dumpty people together again. I don't know if you've ever met this Jesus. I don't know if you've ever personally experienced Him for yourself. But I would love to introduce you to Him. Would you meet us at our website? It's ANewStory.com, and let Him move into the broken places in you and heal what only He can.
You know, brokenness is beautiful if the love and power of Jesus are exposed to people who might not see that beauty any other way.