Life amidst brokenness?


As one who makes a living listening to brokenness, there are times when troubles seem everywhere. Everyone is swimming in a pool of their own tears–to quote the former PBS motivational speaker John Bradshaw. Sometimes, the pool seems pretty deep…cancer, mental illness, sexual abuse, infidelity, mania, marital discord, identity confusion, etc.

If not careful, we counselors can begin to believe that brokenness is the ONLY reality–a dreadful position if all we have to offer our clients is a knowing sad smile. On Sunday I went to a class on Isaiah, what some call 2nd Genesis because of the prophetic descriptions of re-birth and redemption of Israel through the work of Emmanuel.

In the class, someone said something that has been banging around in my head. It went something like this (gist, not quote)

It is not a challenge to see brokenness around us–that is easy. The challenge is to see God’s re-creative activity. Oddly, we call reality (God’s activity in redeeming us) a myth and prefer myth (superficial Christmas peace) over the reality of God’s working through brokenness to make us whole. I repeat, the challenge is to see God’s recreation and Glory.

Not sure how much of that was said and how much of that is just my own thoughts. But, still, the challenge for us is to see re-birth and not merely dying and death. What looks like an ugly stump (Isaiah 11:1) to us is a fruit bearing shoot.

See if you can catch glimpses of growth and rebirth today!

4 Comments

Filed under Biblical Reflection, christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, counseling, Doctrine/Theology, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Life amidst brokenness?

  1. Jess

    Beautiful thoughts which remind me of another “Advent” verse, John 1:5. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” It would be easy to focus on “this present darkness” (the brokenness), but it takes eyes of faith to also see Him, “the Light of all mankind,” and His redemptive work.

  2. Cynthia

    I appreciated this post! What a privilege it is for us as counselors to see “recreation and Glory” in the small steps of our clients. What initially looks like an “ugly stump (Isaiah 11:1)” through the Balm of Gilead becomes ” to us is a fruit bearing shoot.” And we are humbled, once again, to be used by Him.

  3. Brooke

    Ok…my Bible doesn’t say ‘ugly stump’….even though brokenness can often make one feel that way…:)
    Good post though, thanks. Wouldn’t it be great to share any beauty being formed in what must feel like a drowning pool of brokenness to your clients. Because if counselors get blinded, so must the client..just a thought.

  4. Carm

    I really appreciated this post, Phil. Thank you for the timely word.

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