After we admit our brokenness and cry out to God about it, we should share our brokenness with others so that they can help us carry the burden. We were not meant to do life alone. Paul told the Galatian Christians to “carry each other’s burdens,” saying that “in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” I can think of at least three different kinds of Christian relationships that can help us with our brokenness. First is that of a friend who can walk alongside us daily in our pain. Another is that of a mentor or spiritual father or mother who can give us wise counsel and guidance. Such a person is someone who has walked farther down the road than we have and who may have even dealt with some of the same kinds of brokenness as we have. A third relationship is with someone who has received special training in helping broken people—for example, a professional counselor or a pastor.
Many people try and keep their pain to themselves, either out of shame and embarrassment or because they don’t want to bother someone else with it. But God has created us as creatures who have a deep need for community. The church is supposed to be a “hospital for sinners” where Christians help each other heal. It is important to see how James connects confession with healing: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Admitting our brokenness and asking others to help us carry the burden of brokenness is the pathway to healing.
We also need to believe that our healing from God will eventually come. Indeed, it could come immediately. God has the power to heal our brokenness instantaneously, though he seems to do so relatively rarely. More often, God heals us over time, during our life on Earth. And, of course, sometimes God waits to heal us in heaven. The Apostle Paul pleaded with God to remove his thorn in the flesh three different times (2 Corinthians 12:7–9). But God’s answer was no: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” We must believe that God will eventually heal us of all the brokenness in our lives. He may do it now, sometime later during our life on Earth, or in heaven, after we die.
One of the reasons why God may delay our “total healing” is because he wants to use our brokenness to grow our character. James tells us to “consider it pure joy” when we “face trials of many kinds,” because God uses these trials to develop perseverance in our lives, helping us mature (James 1:2). Another reason why God may delay our total healing is because he wants to use us in our broken state to bring comfort to others.
God never wastes a broken area of our life; he wants to turn these areas into ministry opportunities. Our greatest ministry often comes from the most painful and broken areas of our lives. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to praise God for his compassion and comfort toward us. And then Paul told them that one of the main reasons why God comforts us in all our troubles is “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Growing up without a loving father has been one of my deepest areas of wounding and brokenness. By God’s grace, it has also become the greatest, most influential area of ministry in my life. Because of my brokenness in this area, I have a deep empathy for anyone who doesn’t have a loving father. I also have empathy and personal knowledge of what the fatherless really want and need from a father. God has not only been healing my “father wound,” but he has also made it into a powerful ministry to others who bear the same kind of wounds.
Life is too short not to deal with our brokenness. My oldest daughter is a licensed professional counselor, and she tells me that her favorite counseling question is “What are you going to do with your pain?” We may be sitting on the most powerful and effective ministry of our life simply because we don’t want to open the door to share a secret or face the pain. The God of all comfort is waiting, wanting to comfort you so that you can become a comfort to others. Life is too short to miss out on this ministry opportunity.
REFLECTIONS: Do you have Christian people in your life from each of the three different areas (friend, mentor or spiritual parent, counselor or pastor)? Are you willing to begin to pray and search for such people to help you? Have you been able to think of how to use the brokenness and pain in your life as a pathway to ministry? Would you be willing to brainstorm with someone about ministry ideas?
I am the Lord, who heals you.