Hiding the Broken Things

Here, in your presence, I am not afraid of brokenness.
To wash your feet with humble tears,
O, I would be poured out ‘til there’s nothing left.

I just want to wait on You, my God.
I just want to dwell on who You are.

-Kari Jobe, “Beautiful”

As a child, I hid the broken things.

One Christmas, I accidentally beheaded a ceramic figure from my grandmother’s nativity set. (It wasn’t Jesus, so I lived to tell the tale). I simply placed the head back on and walked away. Weeks later, as we put away the Christmas decorations, I feigned shock and disbelief upon the discovery of the broken figurine.

Another time, it was a bookshelf. I flipped the shelf over and strategically placed items of a specific weight to balance out the offended side. I had forgotten about it until I packed my room for college – I didn’t have to fake my shock, but I did hide my culpability.

Then, there was the summer when my cousin, sister, and I broke our swimming pool. One side had torn in half. We foolishly held the broken pieces together as the water gushed out, flooding our yard and the neighbors’ yards below. We didn’t call for help, too afraid to admit we were standing in a broken vessel, holding water in our cupped hands.

As an adult, my tactics haven’t changed—I still hide the broken things.

Brokenness can manifest itself in different ways– it’s not all weeping and gnashing of teeth, though many times, there are tears that flood. Sometimes brokenness looks like…

Displaced anger that overflows.
Envy that springs from comparison.
Grief that rends the heart.
Disappointment borne from unmet expectations.
Lies that rule over us.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve enjoyed the presence of God. It was their practice to walk with God in the cool of the day, but by Genesis 3, Adam and Eve ate the fruit. And upon the discovery of their shame, they hid their brokenness.

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:9-10

In this heart-wrenching scene, God sought Adam and Eve. He knew they were not where they were supposed to be: with him. His first question wasn’t “What did you do?” but “Where are you?” I hear the yearning of his voice, and the breaking in theirs. He calls out to them and he calls out to me:

You are not where you belong. You are not with me. Where are you?

Hiding the broken things is, in of itself, a broken plan. Hiding separates, isolates, and covers us with shame.

But when I no longer fear my brokenness and bring it before God, I find that he draws me near with his kindness. He folds me into his family with his unfailing love. He cloaks us with the grace bought by his Son.

And together, we will rebuild what has been broken.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:4

As a church that loves Tacoma, we need to recognize that God’s restorative love extends beyond weekly services, small groups, teams, and Love Tacoma Sundays. Every day, we should find ways to continually love Tacoma, family, and friends, with the same love Jesus modeled for us.

If I can recognize how God reaches me in my brokenness, will I also extend that same grace to others?  Will I seek those who are hiding the broken things? Will I invite them into God’s presence?

Will I live out His gospel every day?

May we welcome those who are afraid of their brokenness.

And together, rebuild what has been broken.