With this portion in the ‘Gathering up the Fragments’ series, we are opening up the theme of woundings in our spirit that cause inner fragmentation. We will be looking at this in much more detail in the next two releases.
Treasures in Jars of Clay
God is not deterred by our fractured selves. He can and does gather up the pieces and fit them together again. And if He has to allow difficult situations to come our way in order to show us that something seriously out of kilter in us, that’s fine. Circumstances often work out in such a way as to make us aware of our need for repentance so that the Lord can heal and put the issue right – and He uses the fact that we have had to humble ourselves to make more of an impact and to inspire others for Him. This is how even our broken pieces become building blocks on which He safely builds so much.
Sometimes we need help to recognise the areas where our responses are distorted and fragmented by the experiences we have been through, and by the way we have been treated. What we feel and how we react is so often conditioned by the woundings we have received. For example, we may transfer the way we responded in childhood to authority, to our current relationships. If our parents were never satisfied with us, or if our teachers were harsh and unfair, we may find it very hard to respond positively when people rebuke us, even lovingly, or give us well-intentioned advice. A wife’s quiet request becomes a mother’s nag; a husband’s helpful suggestion becomes a father’s refusal to listen. We over-react because we are hearing through distorting filters. That is why it is so important to discern the roots of these distractions and to deal with them in prayer.
When God is bringing matters to a head, it is so important to be willing to do more than just try to get a quick fix; as Bob Mumford memorably put it, if we fix the fix God fixed to fix us, He’ll have to fix another fix! When we are willing to face these areas of brokenness in ourselves, we are making room for God to heal and restore us. Honesty before Him can make for extraordinary changes! And it can be especially sweet and cleansing to make the offering of our fragments in company with someone we love and trust. It’s easier than doing it on our own sometimes. But we have to humble ourselves to admit them first.
We do well too, to recognise the effects that fragmented and disturbed people can have on our own spirits. If a visit leaves a bad after taste, or if we have been praying for someone very vulnerable, then it pays to “cut off” spiritually. Even now, after all these years, Ros and I still forget to do it occasionally, and it is as though some of the fragments are left behind from the people or situation we were involved and they are clinging to us – and that has the potential to make us jittery or short tempered.
Gather up these fragments therefore so that no wrong spirit pollutes the atmosphere or sours relationships. Even when a meeting has gone particularly well it is wise to “seal it in” in prayer as it were, because there is often counter-attack after special blessings.
Let me ask you: what are the things that feel fragmented and incomplete for you? Maybe some promise you believe that God has given but which has not yet seen the full light of day?
There is no limit to what God can do as we hand these apparently random fragments of our life over to Him. He is always looking for ways to further His purposes. Even out of the wreckage of something that has gone terribly wrong we have often marvelled at how he has brought about entirely new and actually much deeper.
Our brokenness is the very reason why Jesus came to Earth. “Whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When the scribes and Pharisees were accusing Him of eating with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
As we wait on the Lord and bring our souls to quietness in Him, we overcome those attempts of the enemy to get us het up. This is not a process to rush. “Do not be in a hurry to leave the King’s presence,” the Philosopher urges in Ecclesiastes 8:3, for hurry, as opposed to moving with clear purpose, is rarely of God. Let’s take the time to lay our requests before Him now, and then wait in expectation for Him to take these fragments – shards even – and weave something good out of them.
The Lord has made His home in our heart, and He wants us to commune with Him so that we become aware again of Himself and the things that matter: What would He say to you? What can you give Him to work with? Let’s take some time now to pray and reflect.